Original Research

A proposed monitoring and evaluation curriculum based on a model that institutionalises monitoring and evaluation

Kambidima Wotela
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 5, No 1 | a186 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v5i1.186 | © 2017 Kambidima Wotela | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 November 2016 | Published: 12 April 2017

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Kambidima Wotela, Graduate School of Governance (WSG), University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), South Africa

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Background: African politicians, bureaucrats and technocrats have thrown their weight in support of monitoring and evaluation (M&E). This weight has compelled training institutions to add M&E to their offerings. Most often at the end of these training programmes, attendees know what they have learnt but seem not to internalise it and, worse, they hardly ever put their newly acquired knowledge into practice. This allegation has led to what we term ‘monitoring and evaluation training hopping’ where participants move from one training to another hoping that they will eventually fully comprehend the skill and apply it to their work. This rarely happens and as such participants often blame themselves and yet the problem is with the training institutions that are teaching the middle-third tier (how to monitor and evaluate) as well as the bottom-third tier (data and information management). However, the top-third tier that links M&E to ‘the what’ and ‘the how’ as well as ‘the why’ in the development intervention and public policy landscape is missing.
Objectives: To propose a M&E curriculum that institutionalises M&E within implementation and management of development interventions.
Method: We use systems thinking to derive the key themes of our discussion and then apply summative thematic content analysis to interrogate M&E and related literature. Firstly, we present and describe a model that situates M&E within development and public policy. This model ‘idealises or realises’ an institutionalised M&E by systematically linking the contextual as well as key terms prominent in established descriptions of M&E. Secondly, we briefly describe M&E from a systems thinking approach by pointing out its components, processes, established facts, as well as issues and debates. Lastly, we use this model and the systems thinking description of M&E to propose an institutionalised M&E curriculum.
Results: Our results show that for an explicit understanding of M&E, one needs to understand all three tiers of M&E. These are development interventions and public policy (top tier), M&E concepts, terminologies and logic (middle tier) and data collection and storage, data processing and analysis, reporting and some aspects of integrating the findings into planning, implementation and management (bottom tier).
Conclusion: Unless we offer an all-round M&E training, we will not move beyond monitoring and evaluating development interventions for compliance.


Systems thinking; development interventions; public policy cycle; monitoring and evaluation curriculum


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