Monitoring is the regular observation and recording of activities taking place in a project or programme. It is a process of routinely gathering information on all aspects of the project. To monitor is to check on how project activities are progressing. It is observation; ─ systematic and purposeful observation. Monitoring also involves giving feedback about the progress of the project to the donors, implementers and beneficiaries of the project. Reporting enables the gathered information to be used in making decisions for improving project performance. Monitoring is the systematic collection and analysis of information as a project progresses. It is aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of a project or organisation. It is based on targets set and activities planned during the planning phases of work. It helps to keep the work on track, and can let management know when things are going wrong. If done properly, it is an invaluable tool for good management, and it provides a useful base for evaluation. It enables you to determine whether the resources you have available are sufficient and are being well used, whether the capacity you have is sufficient and appropriate, and whether you are doing what you planned to do
Purpose of Monitoring:
Monitoring is very important in project planning and implementation. It is like watching where you are going while riding a bicycle; you can adjust as you go along and ensure that you are on the right track. Monitoring provides information that will be useful in:
• Analyzing the situation in the community and its project; • Determining whether the inputs in the project are well utilized; • Identifying problems facing the community or project and finding solutions; • Ensuring all activities are carried out properly by the right people and in time; • Using lessons from one project experience on to another; and • Determining whether the way the project was planned is the most appropriate way of solving the problem at hand.
Planning, Monitoring and Controlling Cycle:
Importance of Monitoring:
Monitoring is important because:
• it provides the only consolidated source of information showcasing project progress; • it allows actors to learn from each other’s experiences, building on expertise and knowledge; • it often generates (written) reports that contribute to transparency and accountability, and allows for lessons to be shared more easily; • it reveals mistakes and offers paths for learning and improvements; • it provides a basis for questioning and testing assumptions; • it provides a means for agencies seeking to learn from their experiences and to incorporate them into policy and practice; • it provides a way to assess the crucial link between implementers and beneficiaries on the ground and decision-makers; • it adds to the retention and development of institutional memory; • it provides a more robust basis for raising funds and influencing policy.
WHY DO MONITORING?
Monitoring enable you to check the “bottom line” (see Glossary of Terms) of development work: Not “are we making a profit?” but “are we making a difference?” Through monitoring and evaluation, you can:
_ Review progress;
_ Identify problems in planning and/or implementation;
_ Make adjustments so that you are more likely to “make a difference”. In many organisations, “monitoring and evaluation” is something that that is seen as a donor requirement rather than a management tool. Donors are certainly entitled to know whether their money is being properly spent, and whether it is being well spent. But the primary (most important) use of monitoring and evaluation should be for the organisation or project itself to see how it is doing against objectives, whether it is having an impact, whether it is working efficiently, and to learn how to do it better.
Plans are essential...