Programming Essentials, Monitoring & Evaluation
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What are some of the challenges?

Last edited: October 31, 2010

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There is a lack of comparable indicators and instruments, especially on the prevalence of forms of violence. It is therefore hard to make comparisons across regions.

Many studies measure processes and outcomes but not impact. Many also measure change at the individual level but not at the community level.

Different kinds of interventions (policy and legal reforms, strengthening health, legal, security and support services, community mobilization, awareness raising campaigns), and different contexts require different evaluation tools and methods.

It is difficult to determine specific contributions of strategies to an observed outcome or impact, especially with complex, multisectoral or integrated interventions.

It is difficult to define what success means or looks like with specific interventions.

Rigorous statistical methods are frequently not used.

Monitoring and evaluation plans often lack clear, appropriate conceptual frameworks.

Interpreting data is often challenging and requires significant capacity or an expert.

Sufficient resources are often not allocated towards monitoring and evaluation which may cost as much as 10 to 40 percent of the entire budget depending on the goals and objectives of the programme, scope and type of intervention and activities.

Certain evaluation methods that are commonly employed to assess impact of interventions may be unethical in the context of violence against women.

(Above from Gage and Dunn 2009, Frankel and Gage 2007, Watts 2008, Heise and Ellsberg 2005)


Ethical conduct: Concern for the protection of human rights and the safety of women and girls should be an absolute priority in all interventions and all efforts to monitor and evaluate the situation regarding violence against women.

The Association of Women in Development’s (AWID) action-research initiative to develop principles and tools for conducting monitoring and evaluation of women’s rights and gender equality programmes has published a preliminary paper Capturing Change in Women’s Realities: The Challenges of Monitoring and Evaluating Our Work (2009). For a quick snapshot of the challenges outlined in the paper, see the summary.