Research to develop an evidence base is core to how we approach our work at FHI 360 – we study, we test and we evaluate.
Barney Singer is the Director, Leadership and Capacity Development Programs, at FHI 360.
FHI 360 is a nonprofit human development organization dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions.
This leads to a deep understanding of the communities and people we support and allows us to help craft solutions that deliver serious impact.
In other words, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is in our DNA.
Monitoring and evaluation are processes that help improve project and organizational performance so that you can achieve the results you want. The monitoring piece of M&E provides detailed information on assessed activities and where improvements can be made. The evaluation side refers to the examination of a program to understand what has been achieved.
The appetite for M&E has been increasing steadily over the years. Organizations want to be able to understand what works and what does not—and amend activities accordingly. Funders want to see if and how projects reached objectives and how their money is being used. Publics want to consume meaningful stories about project impacts and opportunities. With all this is mind, it is clear that a strong, thoughtful M&E plan is critical to the richness of your narrative, no matter who share it with or where you sit in your project or organization.
Clarity is key to M&E success.
We need to be really clear about what we want to measure, who is going collect the information, and what we want to do with it once we have it. Integrating M&E into a project’s design and implementation is the optimal approach – the information we derive is critical to understanding whether or not our programs are achieving our objectives and enable us to report to our stakeholders and funders.
M&E is its own discipline, and not everyone has a background in it. We created Planning for Monitoring and Evaluation in collaboration with Philanthropy University to offer opportunities that allow anyone to learn about it or to enhance his or her skills. We designed the course in bite-sized pieces, and learners have the opportunity to practice what they learn and to build from one piece to the next at their own pace.
What makes a good indicator within an M&E plan for a project? How can gathering data help tell a project’s story? We cover these key pieces of M&E and more through practical exercises and virtual peer networking, allowing participants to deep dive into discussions on specific concepts.
Our best advice? Take this course, no matter what role you play in your organization or project. You will be surprised at how quickly and how often opportunities to apply M&E concepts come up every day. Empower yourself with an understanding of why and how your work is achieving your goals so that your organization or project can continue to help provide real and meaningful impact in the lives of people around the world.
Enroll in Planning for Monitoring and Evaluation
In the six-week online course, you will learn how successful projects plan for data collection, management, analysis, and use. To learn more, visit the Planning for Monitoring and Evaluation course page at Philanthropy University.
Image provided by FHI 360/Jessica Scranton.
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