Frank Meintjies on Embedding M&E Within Organisations

I am Frank Meintjies who has worked in the public sector (the South African government) and the private sector (Deloite Consulting) either managing and implementing programmes or undertaking organisational development. Through this period, I have simultaneously conducted numerous evaluations, including process evaluations and impact evaluations. Although taken as a whole, most of my work has related to poverty reduction initiatives, my largest evaluation assignments have been on multi-year HIV and AIDS programmes.

In recent years, I have begun to focus on formal aspects of Monitoring and Evaluation, including design of frameworks and their institutionalisation within development organisations. Through my work, I am always on the lookout for tactics of quickly embedding M&E within organisations that are embracing it for the first time.

Lesson learned: For an organisation addressing the need for a properly institutionalised evaluation plan for the first time, I have found that it could help immensely to include a brief training session as part of the process. The training introduces key internal role players to basic concepts and is part of the process of building what change guru John Kotter would term a “powerful guiding coalition” behind the introduction of M & E into the organisation.

Lesson learned: In small organisations, I include all professional staff in the training. In large organisations I include all managers in the training. (When the training is with general managers and executives it is of shorter duration). Including a broad range of people in a training/orientation session creates greater possibilities when it comes to assigning roles and responsibilities. In many instances, staff members have informed me that had they not had a thorough orientation to M&E, they would not have stepped up for or accepted roles, for example, as members of the M&E Steering Committee.

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