Monitoring and evaluation
Monitoring is the regular collection of data on an activity,
technology, social event, relationship, or some other topic. Evaluation is the
analysis of these data, comparing them to set objectives. For example,
monitoring and evaluating (M&E) the use of herbal medicines in a small
community of some 20 households could be done through regular visits to all
households, recording whether any of the household members had been sick since
the last visit, whether anyone had used any herbal medicines to treat an illness
or for any other purpose, whether they used any other type of drug, etc. After,
let us say one year, the data would be analyzed. We might count how many
households and who in each household had used herbal medicines, how many
different types of herbs were used and how they were prepared, for which
diseases herbal medicines were used, etc. It is important that we determine,
before the monitoring starts, just what data are needed and how they will be
M&E enable development workers to determine whether their
projects are meeting their objectives and to determine what changes are needed.
Monitoring and evaluating IK
Monitoring and evaluating IK means regularly collecting data on
a specific IK and analyzing the data against defined objectives.
Monitoring and evaluation
Many of the recording and assessment methods described earlier
in this manual can be adapted and used to collect data for monitoring and
evaluating IK. Combinations of methods afford a comprehensive analysis, allowing
assessment from the insiders' end outsiders' perspectives. Such a comprehensive
assessment is also useful for cross-checking and validating data through
triangulation (i.e., ask the same question in different forms or ask different
For example, let's look at a project promoting indigenous stoves
to villagers. To obtain technical data on the stoves, the project might measure
the stoves' energy consumption, smoke emission and cooking efficiency under
village conditions during different seasons. Parallel to this testing based on
western science, regular group discussionsor some other IK assessment
methodwould be held to learn the villagers" experiences using the various
stoves: What problems were encountered with the new stoves? Which stoves meet
the villagers' needs? How can village stoves be improved, etc?
What applies to M&E activities in general, also applies to
M&E of IK. We must determine from the outset of a project:
- What do we want to measure? What are the
objectives of our planned M&E?
- What type of data must we collect in
order to learn whether we have reached our objectives?
- What methods are
best suited to collect the data?
- What methods are best suited to analyze
and interpret the data?
Using IK to monitor and evaluate projects
IK can be used to monitor and evaluate projects. For example,
hunters might know that the disappearance of a certain wildlife species means
that a certain habitat is deteriorating. A project aiming to improve this
habitat could use this information. By monitoring this indicator species, the
project could gauge the effectiveness of its efforts. Or, local people might
have their own way of calculating profit. A project aiming to increase the
number of local enterprises in a village could use this indigenous method of
record-keeping to monitor and evaluate enterprise success.
The use of IK in M&E is poorly documented. Therefore there
exists no easy "recipe." But similar to the steps outlined in the sections How
to use the manual and Using indigenous knowledge in development, applying IK to
M&E should start with thorough documentation of any IK related to the
objectives of the M&E. For example, if you want to monitor changes in the
condition of the environment, make a comprehensive record of IK relating to the
environment. Next, screen the recorded IK looking for any information useful for
Or, you could ask the local people how they would monitor
progress of the project. Their ideas could be very useful. You could develop an
M&E approach together with them.
Finally, identified IK must be integrated into your M&E
design. Again, a combination of both IK and outsiders' knowledge will probably
prove most effective.
Compiled by Evelyn