|Participatory Impact Monitoring - PIM Booklet 2: NGO-Based Impact Monitoring (GTZ, 1996, 38 p.)|
|1. General ideas on monitoring|
Participation and monitoring
This is a wonderful-sounding term which is notoriously likely to be misunderstood, and is frequently no more than a cliche. In Part 1.1 we said that although the various categories of actors each have "their" projects, the main actors should be the people themselves.
Moreover, no management tool can be participatory in itself. Participation requires special attitudes and these participatory attitudes can be learned! Also, participatory monitoring is not participatory per se. The utilization of a tool is an art, and the tools have to be adapted to the conditions of the users. This will require appropriate methods.
In the context of self-help promotion, the word "participation" does not mean "to take part in a joint activity". It means more: there should be a continuous empowerment of people's groups, going hand in hand with a continuous relinquishment of power by NGO and funding agencies. Participation also implies an empowerment of the NGO vis-is the funding agencies.
Participation is thus an ongoing process where one side learns to act increasingly autonomously, and the other side learns to hand over responsibilities and power.
Participation is an ongoing process of capacity-building which requires ongoing changes.
Therefore, a participatory management concept serves to develop management tools which can be applied to increase people's independence of NGO and funding agencies, and NGO' independence of funding agencies.
Participation and monitoring
We have already stated that monitoring and evaluation aims to enhance people's ability to reflect and to learn. Participatory monitoring should help those involved to draw conclusions for decision-making out of this trial-and-error process, and to guide their activities according to "lessons learned".
Coming back now to our three types of organizations - the actors -, what do the organizations involved feel it is important to observe? If we let them answer freely, we see that there are many expectations and fears beyond the planning framework
- there are subjective interpretations
- there are all kinds of "hidden" expectations, and
- each actor also wants to observe the other actors.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, each actor and each group of actors has his, her or its own priorities. Consequently, there are different autonomous monitoring and evaluation systems. They are usually not systematic or formalized.
These autonomous M+E systems of each actor must be preserved: they cover special aspects of the project process, and interlinked they will give a more complex view of reality than a single M+E system. To a certain extent, there should be information exchange and joint reflection - and this is the basis of participatory monitoring.
Accordingly, for participatory monitoring, participation means safeguarding and strengthening autonomy and establishing a dialogue between the actors as equals regarding their joint project.
Implications for participatory monitoring
participation means a process of empowerment and increasing autonomy for previously disadvantaged groups
each organization should have autonomy over its own monitoring'
mutual support and assistance among the actors is everybody's interest
the findings should be periodically compared and sometimes reflected on jointly: this gives a more complete picture.