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Developing Monitoring and Evaluation Systems for Complex Organizations: A Methodology

By: Nigel Simister

Almost all development organizations are expected to have systems that enable them to collect, analyse, summarize and use information. However, whilst there is a large and growing range of resources covering monitoring and evaluation (M&E), there is little guidance or support for those wishing to design M&E systems. The guidance that is available tends to focus on systems at project or program level, rather than at country, regional or international levels. This paper attempts to redress this imbalance by describing a methodology that can be used to design an M&E system within a complex organisation. A complex organisation, in this context, is an organisation that works on different levels to achieve its goals. Typically, a complex organisation will run or support different projects in different programs across more than one country or region.

The paper is divided into two parts:

• Part One describes a methodology for designing an M&E system. This covers a number of stages from defining the scope and purpose of the system to its eventual roll out. However, it does not cover the implementation of the M&E system.

• Part Two addresses many of the technical issues that need to be considered when designing M&E systems for complex organisations. The information in Part Two may be useful to M&E system designers whether or not the basic methodology in Part One is followed.