STEP 1 – Monitoring & Evaluation framework
With quick appraisals, step 1 will not involve developing a log frame or ToC.
Rather, you may opt simply for a M&E framework, essentially a mini roadmap of the information you or another member of your organization will need to collect and analyse for that appraisal. The M&E framework can of course also be used to steer metrics-based evaluations and ToC-led evaluations. It is a way of building M&E into your project from the conceptualisation stage.
It helps NGDOs to work out who is going to do what, when and why. It is often considered best practice and can sometimes involve quick elaborate templates.
Here the aim is to keep this as simple as possible. It is being combined here with quick appraisal techniques as a way of providing a guiding thread that will ensure that NGDOs M&E activities can be used constructively in any future evaluation report or thinking.
There are a number of excellent guides on how to draw up an M&E template. These include templates by:
- Tools4dev (which includes a free video and templates)
- NCVO (which also includes useful worked examples)
Basically, the M&E framework helps you plan to ensure that you will get the information you need for your metrics-based or theory-based evaluation.
It also helps you ensure that you are not just randomly applying quick appraisal techniques. Instead, you are asking: what will this technique tell me about outputs, outcomes and impact/ achievement of goals? It helps clarify which pieces of information to collect to evidence your story of change.
It is good practice to include people who will be collecting the data when you develop your framework. You could also involve beneficiaries, volunteers and partner organisations.
Template for M&E Framework
The basic framework of an M&E Framework is given below.
The terms deployed here such as activity, output, outcome and indicator are discussed as part of our treatment of the logical framework. To avoid over-extending the categories in the M&E framework, the terms ‘output’ and ‘outcome’ are located in the same box and distinguished by colour coding (black versus purple).
As noted earlier, it is important to recognise the key differences between output (products, services delivered) and outcomes (the changes in behaviour and skills that result from this product or service).
To illustrate, a basic M&E framework has been filled in below.