About this Project

Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash

This toolkit has been developed by Professor Gordon Cumming of Cardiff University. Gordon has been working on and with French, British and African Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and volunteer organisations for over 15 years.

How it All Started

This project started with the idea that some of the ‘softer’ data collection tools, used by smaller French NGOs, could be transferred to NGOs operating in other Northern countries and in parts of the global South.

The idea took hold when Gordon was asked by Valley and Vale Community Arts (VVCA), a Welsh NGO, and Hub Cymru Africa, a key coordinating body for Welsh NGOs, to create a toolkit. This kit should be accessible to smaller NGOs that have reservations about monitoring and evaluation (M&E).

Gordon began by liaising closely with the F3E, France’s NGO training unit, and leading practitioners in Welsh NGO circles. On the basis of these discussions, he decided to introduce a three-step process (the 1-2-3 method) as a way of making the M&E process manageable.

Various discussions with Welsh NGDOs revealed that this method could usefully be speeded up and simplified further. Hence, there is now a Full 1-2-3 Method (which is broadly in line with the demands of most donors), as well as a Quick 1-2-3 Method (which is for rapid appraisal and self-evaluation by NGDOs and volunteer organisations).

Gordon is now using the 1-2-3 method and this website to provide M&E training to volunteers on the Welsh government’s international learning programme. Most of these volunteers are already experienced managers and go on placements to Uganda, Lesotho or Namibia.


The original idea behind this project received funding in the form of an ESRC Impact grant.

Underpinning Research

  • French NGOs in the Global Era: A Distinctive Role in International Development, Palgrave, Basingstoke, 2009).
  • French NGOs in the Global Era: Professionalization ‘‘Without Borders’’?, Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Non-Profit Organizations vol. 19, no. 4, 2008, 372-394.
  • ‘A Prototypical Case in the Making? Challenging Comparative Perspectives on French Aid’, The European Journal of Development Research, 2017, Vol. 29, no.  1, pp. 19-36.
  • ‘Good intentions are not enough: French NGO efforts at democracy building in Cameroon’, Development in Practice, vol. 21, no. 2, 2011, 218-33.