Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation
The Hunger Project (THP) is committed to providing stakeholders with timely, objective, and reliable data on the results of our projects and the overall impact of our strategies. THP takes a participatory approach to monitoring and evaluation and encourages grassroots solutions to improving programs through systematic community-led analysis of results. THP’s Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E) system is designed to:
- Support community partners with the information and tools required to identify needs, set priorities and track progress of community development projects;
- Promote organizational learning by enabling THP staff and partner organizations to continuously monitor and improve our programs;
- Promote accountability and transparency within the organization and among partners and investors;
- Provide evidence needed to influence policymakers and other thought leaders to adopt THP’s proven approaches to our bottom-up, gender-focused development.
The Hunger Project’s PM&E system is consistent with our program methodology: to empower people living in conditions of hunger and poverty to be the primary agents of their own development. Strengthening the skills needed for citizens to participate in actively monitoring their progress is an integral component of our monitoring and evaluation strategy.
Our dynamic web-based data monitoring platform aims to integrate program and financial information to track: inputs (financial and human resources); activities (educational workshop and community-led projects); outputs (number of people trained, number of projects completed), near-term outcomes (increased access to resources, strengthened capacity); and long-term impacts (improved livelihoods, healthy communities) in each of our 11 program countries.
Theory of Change
The PM&E system uses an analytic framework based on our Theory of Change to track indicators THP has identified as causal pathways that lead to change and improved livelihoods in the communities where we work. A Theory of Change describes the types of interventions (a single program or a comprehensive community initiative) that bring about the outcomes depicted in a pathway of a change map. Each outcome in the pathway of change is tied to an intervention, revealing the often complex web of activity that is required to bring about change.
THP’s Program countries have diligently been tracking activities and output indicators on a quarterly basis since 2008, and are now in the process of carefully identifying core outcome indicators which will measure our progress against longer term goals and objectives. An evaluation pilot project, taking place in 2012, is field testing new data collection tools (household survey, focus groups discussion guides, key informant questionnaires), giving THP the capacity to more systematically track programmatic outcomes at the both household and community levels.
Additionally, THP sometimes contracts independent external evaluators to critically examine the impact of our programs. External impact assessments provide THP with transparent and objective reviews of our projects which help inform program management decisions. These external reports not only validate our work, but make valuable suggestions and provide best practices that can be shared with stakeholders and other development practitioners.
For example, the 2009 Uganda Assessment, A Change to Believe In delivers a compelling analysis of our work in the country, identifies the ways in which THP is seen as distinctive among other organizations doing similar work, and points to key areas for growth.
In 2008, a long-term longitudinal study of the impact of our scale-up program in Ghana was begun by a team of researchers from Yale University, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), and the University of Ghana. This randomized control trial includes a pre-THP intervention baseline survey of approximately 4,000 households with over 20,000 individuals and a follow-up survey of the same households to be conducted over a five year period to measure successes and evaluate THP practice. (Find out more on IPA's website.)
For more information on our Impact Assessment Program, please contact Carolyn Ramsdell, Impact and Influence Program Officer at carolyn.ramsdell at thp.org.