Publication Date

5-2009

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

James Levinson

Abstract

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is an important element of any development initiative as it helps to inform project and community stakeholders, as well as donors, as to the effectiveness and impact of a given intervention or program. However, conventional M&E can present various challenges, particularly for grassroots community organizations for whom M&E can be inaccessible, unaffordable and time consuming. This research proposes a system of M&E for grassroots community organizations that is based on use of appropriate media tools and technology for conducting participatory M&E data collection. The scope of this research will present a review of current knowledge and practice of participatory M&E and applications using media. The researcher has designed a media-based M&E system and performed small-scale field tests for viability with three African community-based organizations. A training module was created to introduce the concept of media-based M&E and hands-on training sessions were conducted using video and photography tools.

While this research was conducted with the specific needs of NextAid (a small US-based NGO) and their African partner organizations in mind, the author has developed the media-based M&E model with the intent of being able to adapt and replicate the system for other NGOs and projects being monitored worldwide. It is suggested that Media-based M&E would have viable applications in the areas of humanitarian emergencies, conflict zones, and small-scale projects where groups have a need to communicate with overseas or long distance partners or funders.

The author concludes that media-based M&E can enhance, rather than replace some existing and commonly accepted practices in the field of M&E. It should therefore be considered as an approach to complement existing practices where appropriate. In the viability field tests, it was shown that Media-based M&E has the potential to be effective and appropriate. One of the most notable strengths of the approach is its emphasis on enabling participatory M&E and building capacity and accessibility for grassroots community organizations. The author also points out the potential weaknesses of the approach in order to provide practitioners with information that will help guide the decision of whether or not media-based M&E is appropriate for a given project or initiative.

Disciplines

Economics | Growth and Development

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