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Participatory monitoring and evaluation

Last edited: December 31, 2011

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  • There should always be a focus on the direct and indirect beneficiaries of programmes (i.e. female survivors, police personnel, etc.), and the process should provide a space for those being monitored to establish their own analytical framework and determine what changes are valued. This can help ensure the approach is not disempowering (Chambers, 1994, 1997; Mukherjee, 1995 cited in SDC, 2010).

For example, in Timor-Leste, as part of the DFID-funded UN Women programme: Supporting Women’s Engagement in Peacebuilding and Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict: Community-led approaches, local mechanisms were established to monitor police responses to violence, including a new, more transparent process for managing complaints of sexual harassment allegations (Saferworld, 2010; Social Development Direct for UNIFEM, 2009). 
  • Methods should always follow ethical guidelines, which ensure that participation is voluntary and individuals can withdraw from the process at any moment; informed consent has been provided so that participants understand the purpose and intended outcome of the assessment as well as the role of their contributions; and confidentiality is respected as much as possible in relation to the information shared, including personal details of participants.

  • Although it may not always be appropriate to have survivors or other beneficiaries in the evaluation team (e.g. if an independent perspective is required), women’s organizations, community groups and others affected by a programme should be engaged through regular consultation and collaboration throughout the monitoring and evaluation cycle, for example:

    • to identify monitoring indicators;

    • to support data collect and interpretation;

    • in the selection of an external evaluator;

    • to suggest relevant information to be collected as part of an evaluation;

    • to develop questions to be asked in interviews and suggesting interviewees;

    • to comment on findings/draft reports alongside security sector personnel.

  • Public opinion surveys or social audits are promising methods of monitoring programme delivery in a participatory manner and can be particularly beneficial in contexts where administrative data is limited. These surveys:

    • increase the transparency of assistance (e.g. by making recommendations widely available, where it is needed and what standards exist), and strengthen the accountability of service providers and implementing agencies to their own communities (DFID, 2010);

    • provide an additional source of data to triangulate with official sources; and

    • can strengthen the capacities of community-based organizations or other civil society mechanisms.

    • Community score cards can be an interactive monitoring tool to empower community members in their relationship with service providers by eliciting user perceptions on the quality, accessibility and relevance of various public services. Score cards have been adapted and used to monitor power relations as the basis for local change and could be developed to measure security responses to violence against women.

For example, the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the United Kingdom provides maps and report cards for each region on services available for survivors of sexual violence. 


Illustrative Examples: Public Opinion Surveys

Saferworld reviewed the monitoring and evaluation arrangements of a Swiss-funded community policing initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It found that the public opinion polls piloted as a monitoring tool were a powerful and persuasive form of information collection. Several interviewees reported that the process of undertaking these surveys ensured the participation of external stakeholders and beneficiaries and gave them a sense of local ownership over the monitoring of the programme.  

Source: Hvidemose D and Mellon J. 2009. Monitoring and evaluation arrangements for the implementation of community policing in Bosnia and Herzegovina: a case study. Saferworld.

Sierra Leone’s Justice Sector Survey, conducted by the Government and the Justice Sector Coordination Office in 2006 and 2007, has tracked a number of performance indicators on police reform over a two or three-year period, including types of sexual violence reported (e.g. rape, child abuse, indecent assault, etc); public perceptions of the security situation at community level; trends in crime rates; personal safety; levels of satisfaction with police performance; relations between the police and the community; public willingness to collaborate with the police; and personal experience of police misconduct or corruption. Although the survey does not disaggregate by gender or specifically address other forms of gender-based violence, it has the potential to be adapted in order to better understand women’s and girls’ perceptions of security and police response.

Source: Government of Sierra Leone and the Justice Sector Coordination Office, Justice Sector Survey 2008.

Other examples of public opinion surveys and social audits include:

Domestic Violence against Women Report (Eurobarometer, 2010)

National Survey on Community Attitudes to Violence Against Women (Australian Government, The Social Research Centre, VicHealth 2009)

Access to Justice for the Women of Karachi  (CIET, 2002)


Resources for Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation:

Evaluating Crime Prevention through Social Development Projects: Handbook for Community Groups (CIDA, 2006). This handbook is based on the Crime Prevention through Social Development Evaluation Training package and includes seven modules that provide an overview to concepts of monitoring and evaluation, how to develop indicators and monitoring plans, how to collect and analyze data as well as how to deal with challenges in the process. Available in English.

You can do it: A practical tool kit to evaluating police and community crime prevention programs (Ottawa Police Services, 2001). This guide is a resource for crime prevention practitioners, organizations supporting survivors and community-based groups to evaluate their own programmes and other police initiatives. The guide comprises four chapters covering an introduction to evaluation, planning designing evaluations, conducting evaluations and presenting the findings. The guide also includes easily accessible worksheets, templates and plans. Available in English and supported by a Workbook