TOOL 22. MONITORING MUS
To ensure that actions undertaken are having the intended results. To allow for a continuous process of learning and adaptation based on experience. To gather the necessary information to ensure that multiple-use water services are used sustainably.
Monitoring is the process whereby information pertaining to multiple-use water services is collected, checked and analysed in order to ensure that these services are provided as intended and being used sustainably. Monitoring is an on-going process. It is also the basis of learning and adaptation – as lessons learnt from effective monitoring allow future changes to be identified. Monitoring can collect both hard data (whether or not systems are working) and/or qualitative data (whether people are satisfied; whether behaviour is changing). When stakeholders take certain actions to achieve their vision, it is essential to monitor and assess the impact. Are the desired impacts being achieved? If so, can the approach be replicated elsewhere? If not, can remedial actions be taken – or should the activity be stopped?
The identification of the right ’indicators‘ is central to monitoring and evaluating whether an action is having a desired effect. A monitoring framework should be designed for each significant action to allow progress and success to be monitored.
Problems beset many monitoring and evaluation programmes which are under-resourced or inadequately set up.
- To ensure that actions undertaken are having the intended results.
- To allow for a continuous process of learning and adaptation based on experience.
- To gather the necessary information to ensure that multiple-use water services are used sustainably.
Monitoring may be formal or informal, qualitative or quantitative. All approaches have a number of key elements in common:
Step 1: Identify indicators. This is the single most important aspect of monitoring – and often the most difficult. Indicators must be sufficiently robust to allow impact to be identified and analysed. Good indicators should be simple to collect, cost-effective to monitor, unambiguous, and clearly linked to either learning or action. The golden rule is never to collect information if there is no clear use for it!
Step 2: Identify collecting and reporting mechanisms. A clear set of mechanisms is required to collect, record, quality control and communicate the results. Who should collect information about key indicators? How often? What should they do with the information? Who should receive the information and how? How will the results be discussed and acted on?
Step 3: Link monitoring to action. Monitoring should be clearly linked to action. When end-users are asked to collect and report information, they must see action resulting from their efforts. This can take the form of technicians coming to repair faulty water supply systems, or changes in project or programme design.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) programmes should be well-resourced with adequately paid and well-motivated staff.
- M&E programmes need quality control procedures and data management systems to ensure that information is shared between stakeholders.
- M&E programmes must demonstrate independence; otherwise information may be manipulated to indicate a level of performance that has not been achieved.
- Involving service end-users in collecting and analysing data ensures ownership and can be an important part of capacity development.
- Indicators may be quantitative or qualitative, but need to be standardised to allow comparisons before and after interventions or between locations.
Moriarty, P. et al., 2007. The EMPOWERS Approach to Water Governance: Guidelines, Methods and Tools. Amman: INWRDAM.
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING
World Bank Monitoring and Evaluation Pages:
Action Monitoring for Effectiveness – toolkit for monitoring in the Water and Sanitation sector: