SDS Consulting develops monitoring and evaluation (M&E) Systems for governments, private businesses, and NGOs to enable rapid, accurate, and versatile data collection, collation, analysis, and reporting. These M&E Systems are for timebound projects, based in a single location, through to international programmes of work, based in multiple countries and sectors.
B. WHAT IS AN M&E SYSTEM?
An M&E system covers all the work carried out during and after a project to define, select, collect, analyse, and use information. It brings all aspects of a project together, from the initial selection of objectives and indicators through to the final evaluation of a project.
C. DIGITAL M&E SYSTEMS
SDS develops robust customized M&E system application platforms that collate, organize, and analyze data from a range of sources and formats. These M&E platforms are user-friendly, accurate and produce reports and insights from inputted raw data, which can be validated and traced to the data collector. Using our M&E platforms means that staff in various project locations can easily input collected data. These data can be viewed on online dashboards and other types of enhanced data visualization such as graphs, maps, pivot tables, and heatmaps to show the situation on the ground in different ways. While our online M&E systems provide an overview of vital project information at a glance, they are also a central reference point for partners and stakeholders.
D. ELEMENTS OF AN M&E SYSTEM
M&E systems require context which means defining key features that will govern its operation. The table below shows some of these elements.
At SDS, we design different M&E systems depending on client’s specific purpose or set of purposes. Other than providing information on basic project management, M&E systems also provide evidence for resource allocation; enable supervision and control of staff or resources; enhance communication between different stakeholders; support marketing or fundraising; and enhance the empowerment of different stakeholders.
SDS develops M&E systems around a set of principles which govern how the systems should be designed and implemented. Principles typically include guidelines on issues such as ethics, transparency, gender and environment awareness, the incorporation of rights-based approaches, or any other core principle considered important by the organisation implementing the project.
The M&E Systems also clarify who should be involved in planning, monitoring and evaluation, and how they should be involved. It is important to involve different stakeholder groups to generate quality data that will be useful in making informed decisions.
4. Data Collection
The M&E Systems allow data collection to happen throughout a projects life cycle. This ensures that the project remains on track, and assess progress towards stated objectives, as well as identify unexpected changes. Data is collected on pre-defined objectives, indicators, and questions, but may also cover unexpected and/or negative change.
• Objectives: Objectives cover project the products or services intended to be delivered and the longer-term changes to which the project seeks to contribute.
• Indicators: Indicators are the evidence which will help establish whether a project has done what it planned to, and whether or how far the desired changes have taken place. Indicators are normally reported in terms of numbers (statistics, graphs, tables) or words (narratives, stories, explanations)
• Questions: Monitoring, evaluation or learning questions are defined as what a project hopes to answer through its M&E system. Questions may relate to the changes brought about by the project, the processes used to bring about those changes, or any other relevant issue.
5. Data Analysis
SDS develops M&E systems that contain processes designed to analyze data, to make sense of information collected throughout a project, or afterwards. This analysis is also designed to highlight deviation from plans or budgets.
The M&E systems support in the generation of reports to different stakeholders at different times for internal use, and for external stakeholders. These Systems contain reporting schedules, designed to cover the different reports needed throughout the course of the project.