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Data by the people, for the people – How participatory monitoring & evaluation tools, practices and experiences can strengthen partnerships for community-led development

Title: Data by the people, for the people - How participatory monitoring & evaluation tools, practices and experiences can strengthen partnerships for community-led development

Lead workshop facilitators: Jouwert van Geene and Megan Colnar

Function lead workshop facilitator: Programs Director

Institution: The Hunger Project Netherlands

Relevance of the workshop for the conference theme ‘Partnering for Success: how M&E Can Strengthen Partnerships for Sustainable Development’:

Participatory M&E methods and practices can be useful tools for all partnerships that work towards empowering women and men in rural villages. By connecting project performances to community expectations and goals in a participatory way, these men and women become the change agents for their own sustainable development. By measuring what works and what does not, based on measurable progress indicators and outcome evaluations at community level, partnerships between different actors (business, government, civil society and science) can benefit from this information and plan and program accordingly.

Workshop objectives and content:

The workshop objective is to have a vivid dialogue on available participatory M&E practices and methods and come up with ideas how these tools and experiences can be used in community-led partnerships aiming on localizing the SDGs.

The implementation of the SDGs and the call for collective action offer a great chance and momentum to build coalitions for community-led development. Such coalitions can be strengthened by a participatory monitoring and evaluation (M&E) approach. The interesting thing about participatory approaches to monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is that participatory research methods are a very common theme in academia. There is a lot of information from important academics on this subject and intense debate about the right methods and approaches. In the wake of various initiatives such as the Principles for Data Development and the post-2015 ‘Data Revolution’, a number of organizations and practitioners have identified the importance of community-centered and collaborative methods in M&E. Also many other actors (donors, governments, investors) support the idea and the importance of involving communities. In practice, however, the methods, definitions and use of effective participatory M&E vary per organisation.

In this workshop The Hunger Project (THP) wants to tackle this gap between theory and practice and stimulate a discussion on PM&E and generate new ideas of a wider adoption of PM&E in organizations that work in and with communities. As an organization grounded in grassroots advocacy and international development from the bottom up, The Hunger Project takes a community-led approach to M&E that empowers participants in our programs as both collectors and consumers of data, through PM&E methods. The goal of our PM&E system is to recognize what works, what does not work, and why, and create a feedback loop that directly connects our project performance with community expectations and goals. In the workshop we want to give insight to this method, receive feedback, discuss it, develop joint innovative ideas to further improve and scale the use of participatory M&E in both organizations implementing development interventions as in partnerships. A next step after the conference could be establishing or reinforcing a movement where the PM&E methods and practices are further explored, exchanged, tested for developing realistic and cost-effective approaches and tools.

Type of participant who would be interested in the workshop:

  • Any individual who knows little or a lot about this topic and wants to build knowledge, learn about PM&E in practice and actively feed the discussion by sharing own ideas and experiences
  • Anybody who wants to go home inspired by new insights on PM&E and useful tools and concepts to be introduced into their own learning environments
  • Evaluation experts and practitioners
  • People who are working with a community-led approach
  • Civil society organisations / NGOs
  • Scientists / academics on M&E
  • Investors who want to have measurable results
  • Governmental representatives and policy makers involved in M&E