Programming Essentials, Monitoring & Evaluation
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Monitoring and Evaluation Plans

Last edited: October 31, 2010

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Monitoring and evaluation plans should be created after the planning phase and before the design phase of a programe or intervention.  The plan should include information on how the programme or intervention will be examined and assessed.  Generally, the plan should outline:

  • the underlying assumptions on which the achievement of programme goals depend;
  • the anticipated relationships between activities, outputs, and outcomes (the framework);
  • well-defined conceptual measures and definitions, along with baseline data;
  • the monitoring schedule;
  • a list of data sources to be used;
  • cost estimates for the monitoring and evaluation activities;
  • a list of the partnerships and collaborations that will help achieve the desired results; and
  • a plan for the dissemination and utilization of the information gained.


What does a monitoring and evaluation plan include?


What are important considerations for a monitoring and evaluation plan?

  • Resources: how much money and time will be needed to conduct the activities?
  • Capacity: Does the programme/project have internal capacity to carry out the proposed monitoring and evaluation activities, including analysis of data collected, or will outside expertise be needed?
  • Feasibility: Are the proposed activities realistic? Can they be implemented?
  • Timeline: Is the proposed timeline realistic for conducting the proposed activities?
  • Ethics: What are the ethical considerations and challenges involved with implementing the proposed activities, and is there a plan in place for addressing those considerations? Has a protocol been submitted for review by a research ethics committee?


When should monitoring and evaluation be undertaken?

  • Monitoring and evaluation is an integral part of programmatic and strategic planning.
  • It should be incorporated into all aspects of planning from the project’s inception.


When should monitoring activities be carried out?

  • Monitoring activities should be conducted at key moments during the intervention that will facilitate an assessment of progress towards the objectives and goal.
  • Programmes ideally involve continuous monitoring – or routine collection of data and information that will allow them to gauge if activities are being implemented according to expectations, and if barriers or challenges need to be addressed.
  • With a series of trainings for example, key monitoring moments should be set after a certain number of trainings.
  • With an awareness-raising campaign, key monitoring moments should be set after each aspect of planning and implementing the campaign (e.g. determining exposure to information disseminated through the media after key periods).


When should evaluations be conducted?

  • Evaluations should be conducted at the beginning and end of an intervention process. They should include collection of baseline data for comparison purposes.
  • Evaluations are usually conducted to answer key questions on the programme’s performance and carried out when the staff or the donor wants to make key decisions around the programme – such as how to improve the programme, which activities to continue or discontinue and whether or not to scale up the programme.


Can monitoring and evaluation plans be amended?

  • Yes, monitoring and evaluation plans can always be amended and additional indicators or information can always be added.  However, information that has already been collected cannot be changed.

(Frankel and Gage, 2007)

Additional Resource:

See an example monitoring and evaluation plan in Putting the IPPF Monitoring and Evaluation Policy into Practice: A Handbook on Collecting, Analyzing and Utilizing Data for Improved Performance (International Planned Parenthood, 2009; p. 46).