Measuring Our Work

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Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation

The Hunger Project’s Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) philosophy is based on three principles:

  1. Measure what matters

Our M&E system serves as the framework for best delivering on our organizational mission to end hunger and poverty by empowering individuals and communities.

  1. Start with grassroots, community-led engagement

This critical feedback loop directly connects our project performance to community expectations and goals.

  1. Objectivity is key

Transparency and accountability for data are embedded throughout the processes of M&E.

Why M&E?

At The Hunger Project, we believe in measuring what matters. As an organization grounded in grassroots advocacy and international development from the bottom up, understanding the extent of our interventions’ impact at the community level is paramount—for our community partners, our dedicated global staff, our investors and policy makers considering adopting our approach. Our M&E system serves as a critical framework for delivering on our organizational mission to end hunger and poverty by empowering individuals and communities with knowledge, information, and opportunities for achieving sustainable self-reliance.

As an essential precondition to evaluating The Hunger Project’s global performance, it is important to collect reliable primary data for outputs and outcomes (both qualitative and quantitative) as well as existing data from secondary sources. This allows The Hunger Project to critically analyze where our partner communities ‘rank’ when it comes to issues, such as malnutrition or access to healthcare, compared to regional and national averages. As the overall goal of our Participatory M&E system is to recognize what works and what does not work (and why) within project implementation, this feedback loop directly connects our project performance to community expectations and goals.

Our M&E system serves The Hunger Project’s entire network of partners working in 12 countries in more than 24,000 communities, reaching more than 20 million individuals around the world. As program country staff and volunteers lead their communities to make improvements in areas such as health, literacy, education, gender-based violence, food security, income and local democracy, The Hunger Project’s M&E system provides a necessary framework for understanding and enhancing these strides.

The Hunger Project’s program countries have diligently been tracking activities and output indicators on a quarterly basis since 2008. The Hunger Project has been simultaneously developing rigorous impact and outcome indicators to better measure long-term progress towards our goals. An evaluation project took place in Ghana and Malawi in 2012 to field test new data collection tools (household survey, focus group discussion guides, key informant questionnaires), giving The Hunger Project the capacity to more systematically track programmatic outcomes at the both household and community levels. By the end of 2014, every Hunger Project country in Africa will have conducted at least one outcome evaluation.

Read more about our internal and external evaluations.

2015 has been named the Year of Evaluation and much of the talk around the post-MDG plans has centered on the “data revolution” – the need to have quality, time-sensitive information to make informed and cost-effective decisions in international development.

Women’s Empowerment Index

In October 2015, The Hunger Project launched it’s it’s Women Empowerment Index–a tool to measure the multi-dimensional aspects of women’s empowerment. Read more about the index.

M&E Highlights

  • The Hunger Project is especially proud of its Participatory M&E system, which empowers people living in conditions of hunger and poverty to be the primary agents of their own development.
  • The Hunger Project is focused on creating rigorous, Measurable Progress Indicators that are closely tied to our program goals.
  • Currently The Hunger Project is piloting innovative indicators to measure complex concepts such as women’s empowerment, self-reliance, and leadership.
  • We regularly monitor our activities and outputs on a quarterly basis and verify all figures to ensure data of the highest quality. The results are posted on a dynamic, web-based data monitoring platform. Long-term results are evaluated by conducting regular outcome evaluations in program countries. These evaluations incorporate the use of mobile technology, for which The Hunger Project received the iFormBuilder Distinguished Project Award in 2014.
  • The Hunger Project regularly contracts independent external evaluators to critically examine the impact of our programs. These external evaluations not only validate our work, but make valuable suggestions and provide best practices that can be shared with stakeholders and other development practitioners. Read more about our internal and external evaluations.
  • Our theory of change, the causal pathways that lead to change and improved livelihoods in the communities where we work, is the analytic framework used to develop and track our indicators.
  • The Hunger Project is incorporating information and communications technology (ICT) into its M&E systems at every step of the process through mobile data collection tools and an integrated database.