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Every donor agency – seeking a proposal from you – would request for a monitoring and evaluation plan. It is important for the NGO itself to develop this plan because it is its own responsibility to monitor the progress of the project. Simply carrying out meetings between the organizational director and field staff to discuss the project is not enough. There has to be a complete plan for how the projects results will be achieved and how they will be evaluated.
Any NGO can develop its own monitoring and evaluation plan. Sometimes, board members of different NGOs develop their plans to monitor and evaluate the progress of the organization. You can use the same plan and adapt it to the needs of the project. In any case, you need to develop and save this plan in a master template and paste it in any proposal submission form so that you save your time from developing it each time you are writing a proposal.
In a monitoring and evaluation plan, you need to define its objectives first. Generally, such a plan is developed:
- To review progress of the project, including achievements and limitations
- To re-strategize the project, if required
Then, you need to develop the strategy as to how you are going to achieve the objectives. This strategy will involve developing a set of indicators which can be used to review the progress of the project. There can be different kinds of indicators like qualitative indicators and quantitative indicators and results indicators and process indicators. A good monitoring and evaluation plan will have separate indicators and each of them to be reviewed from time to time by the organization.
In the plan, you also need to mention how or from where you are going to collect information for these indicators i.e. the sources of information for these indicators. It could be in form of a project report, case study, field staff diaries, community-based assessments, research data etc.
The plan will also mention the number of project meetings and visits and the names of those persons involved in monitoring the project. For example, you can conduct quarterly meetings to monitor the project. These quarterly meetings can be conducted by the project staff. There can be annual meetings along with visits to monitor or evaluate the project. In this case, there can be external consultants, government officials, donor representatives and others involved.
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Evaluations can be undertaken at mid-term or end-of-term. It is always better to have an external agency to carry out this evaluation to get an objective idea of the project progress.