Scott Chaplowe on Fun and Games in M&E Trainings

Hello, my name is Scott Chaplowe, and I am a Senior Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer with the International Federation Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The IFRC has a lot of stakeholders –communities, 186 National Societies, local governments, partners, donors, etc. One part of my job is to lead M&E trainings that empower our local stakeholders to better understand and participate in the M&E process. There are two big challenges I encounter in building people’s understanding and practice of M&E:

  1. M&E is not the most exciting (“sexy”) subject that people gravitate towards. Resistance can be heightened for the very reason stakeholders need M&E training; They do not understand and value M&E, but may feel threatened by it, fearing it will burden them.
  2. M&E systems can be a straightjacket, imposing outside, “technocentric” methods that alienate rather than foster local participation in project design, monitoring, and evaluation.

Hot Tip: I like to address both of these challenges through fun, participatory methods to demystify M&E, so people better understand, participate in, and own the M&E process. For example, one way I introduce the key concepts of a logframe is with an activity I call the Logical Bridge. Training participants construct a bridge using straws, tape, scissors and string. The bridge is then used as a simple metaphor to discuss project design for a real bridge – inputs, activities, outputs (the bridge), outcomes (i.e. increase trade and between two towns), and ultimate goal (i.e. improved livelihoods). Everyone can relate to a bridge, and I have found this activity to be a fun, useful springboard into the logical hierarchy of results (whatever semantics is used for each level of the logframe). It also has the added benefit of teambuilding).

Hot Tip & Rad Resource: Consider using illustrations or cartoons to convey key M&E messages – and not just in publications, but also in presentations. Show a cartoon during a training and ask participants what it means to them, whether they can relate (or not), and what we might be able to learn from it. Check out the cartoons in our new IFRC Project and Program M&E Guide!

Rad Resource: Come check out my “Fun and Games with Logframes” professional development workshop at the upcoming annual AEA conference in Anaheim to experience more fun, innovative ways to reinforce the understanding and use of logframes. Wednesday, November 2, 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Registration is required – more information online here.

Rad Resource: The guide, “100 Ways to Energise Groups: Games to Use in Workshops, Meetings and the Community,” may not be specifically on M&E, but is useful for lubricating the thought process for how fun and games can be infused into M&E training, and other activities.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “Scott Chaplowe on Fun and Games in M&E Trainings”

  1. Thanks for the post.
    Can you send by mail the guide, “100 Ways to Energise Groups: Games to Use in Workshops, Meetings and the Community.


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