16 Nov The politics of M&E

The politics of M&E

By Aldrian Mungani— M&E Officer, ActionAid South Africa

On the 30 September, ActionAid SA (AASA) joined the ActionAid International Federation in a political debate concerning monitoring and evaluation (M&E). The debate encouraged robust discussions aimed at informing an M&E approach and practice that is in line with our core values and beliefs about what change is and how it happens.

AASA and Local Rights Programme staff deliberated on the purpose, principles and processes of M&E, assessing current practice within AASA and how it could be improved. With increased donor funded programmes, there are concerns about the risk of donor accountability taking precedence over accountability to the rights holders and people living in poverty.

An interesting debate ensued on who our M&E should serve. Many felt it should serve our right holders, particularly women and children as distinct but separate categories. Most agreed, but acknowledged the practical realities where non-compliance with donor M&E requirements has serious consequences on our sustainability and finances. The place of children in the collection and use of monitoring information was strongly questioned, with suggestions that information should be packaged in a way that is accessible to youth, considering child sponsorship is our main vehicle for fundraising. Emily Craven, Head of Programmes, concluded that “there is a need to develop an M&E approach that can speak to donors; stays true to our core values and beliefs about what change is and how it happens; whilst still being actionable, and allowing us to learn and be accountable”.

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