What is Monitoring?

What is monitoring

Monitoring of a program or intervention involves the collection of routine data that measure progress toward achieving program objectives.

Table of Contents

  • Do you know what is Monitoring? 
  • Monitoring Questions
  • Monitoring Plan
  • What is meant by evaluation?

Do you know what is Monitoring?  #

Monitoring is a process of observing and tracking activities and progress. It is a critical component of any successful project or program, as it allows for the assessment of progress and performance against established

Monitoring is an ongoing, continuous process. It requires the collection of data at multiple points throughout the program or project cycle, including at the beginning to provide a baseline. goals.

It is used to track changes in program performance over time. Its purpose is to permit stakeholders to make informed decisions regarding the effectiveness of programs and the efficient use of resources.

Monitoring can be used to determine if activities need adjustment during the intervention to improve desired outcomes.

Monitoring Questions #

Monitoring is sometimes referred to as process evaluation because it focuses on the implementation process and asks key questions:

  • How well has the program been implemented?
  • How much does implementation vary from site to site?
  • Did the program benefit the intended people? At what cost?

Examples of program elements that can be monitored:

  • Supply inventories
  • Number of vaccine doses administered monthly
  • Quality of services
  • Service coverage
  • Patient outcomes (changes in behavior, morbidity, etc.)

Monitoring usually pertains to counting, tracking and collecting, for example:

  • Counting clients seen or health workers trained
  • Tracking condoms distributed
  • Collecting data on clinic clients

Monitoring is periodic and continuous, conducted after program initiation and during the duration of that program or intervention. There are mainly input- and output-focused data collected by the data acquisition systems, and these data are generally used as a strategy to determine whether an implementation was effective on an ongoing basis. 

For example, an NGO delivering training for school teachers: the number of sites visited by the NGO delivering training to school teachers might be tracked monthly as well as the number of trainings delivered to school teachers, as well as the number of teachers trained, for instance.

Key questions to consider for monitoring strategy include:

  • What indicators can we use to measure our progress?
  • Do we have efficient data collection and data analysis?
  • How efficiently are we implementing our program(s)?
  • Based on what the data tells us, do we need to make any adjustments to our programs?

Monitoring Plan #

A monitoring plan usually focuses on the processes occurring during the implementation of a program. These can include tracking the following during defined periods of time:

  • When programs were implemented
  • The location or region in which programs were delivered
  • Which departments or teams delivered activities
  • How often certain activities occurred
  • Number of people reached through a programs’ activities
  • Number of products delivered (or number of hours of a service)
  • Costs of program implementation

What is meant by evaluation? #

A program evaluation focuses on the performance of the intervention and is principally used to determine whether beneficiaries really have benefited due to those activities. It generally looks at outcomes, assessing whether a change occurred between the outset and termination of an intervention (or at least between two specific time periods). Ideally, that change should be able to be attributed to the activities undertaken.

Key questions that an evaluation considers:

  • Did our activities make a measurable difference in our target beneficiary group(s)?
  • How much can the changes observed be attributed to our activities?
  • What contributed to our success (or failure)?
  • Can we scale observed changes? Or replicate in other contexts?
  • Did we achieve impacts in a cost-effective way?
  • Have any unexpected results occurred?

At the outset of a program it is important to acquire baseline data, which will be used to compare progress at every evaluation interval and at the end of the program period. When thinking about how to measure for outcomes (changes that have occurred), consider the following key elements:

  • Understand how your inputs, outputs, activities, etc. generate change (see Theory of Change)
  • Design your evaluation plan (i.e. research plan) before launching a program or intervention
  • Use outcomes that are relevant for your beneficiaries
  • Use data collection methods that fit the needs of beneficiaries and the skills of your employees
  • Incentivize beneficiaries to provide you with data at key intervals
  • Ensure you have adequate data management and analysis tools (and people who know how to use them)

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