Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E)

Monitoring is the systematic collection, analysis and use of information from projects and programmes for three basic purposes:

Evaluation is assessing as systematically and objectively as possible an ongoing or completed project, programme or policy. The object is to be able to make statements about their relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability. Based on this information, it can be determined whether any changes need to be made at a project, programme or policy level, and if so, what they are. What went well, where is there room for improvement? Evaluation thus has both a learning function - the lessons learned need to be incorporated into future proposals or policy - and a monitoring function - partners and members review the implementation of policy based on objectives and resources mobilised.

Monitoring and evaluation are complementary. During an evaluation, as much use as possible is made of information from previous monitoring. In contrast to monitoring, where emphasis is on the process and results, evaluation is used to provide insight into the relationships between results (for example, the strengthened capacity of an organisation), effects (for example, improved services / products) and impact (for example, improved living conditions for the ultimate target group).

Three reasons

To summarise, M&E can be used for three reasons:

- Steering: steering and adjusting current programmes and projects

- Learning: learning more about what works and what does not

- Monitoring: accounting for the resources used in the light of objectives formulated in advance and results achieved


Relevance is the extent to which an aid activity deals with the problems and the needs of the target group. Relevance may change over the years. This may be the result of changes in the nature of the problem, changes in policy or the institutional context. The relevance of a project must be discussed at length before starting the project. A context analysis and a problem analysis must be conducted. In practice, sport development projects look at relevance to a limited extent in advance, but also in retrospect. It is seldom the purpose of an evaluation. Example of relevance questions would be: To what extent was it useful to set up a new sports project in a certain region? To what extent was the selected partner organisation a good choice for tackling the problem? To what extent was this need already being met by other organisations? Would it have been better to work together with other initiatives rather than build up an entirely new sport structure? But also: is there any point to using sport to work on gender issues in a cultural context in which women's sport is taboo? Might there have been better methods?


Effectiveness is the extent to which an aid activity achieves the goals it has set, or the results of the project tally with the project's original purpose. Unfortunately, so far there are few good examples of evaluation studies in the area of sport and development cooperation.

Efficiency is measured on the basis of the human and material costs incurred in attempting to achieve a certain result.

Is the aid activity the most efficient activity, or would the same result or even a better result have been achieved in some other way? For example, is it possible to make use of cheaper local knowledge? Can a southern expert be enlisted in the place of a northern one? Are there less expensive sports activities that have the same or even more effect? Efficiency questions are often neglected. Organisations receive funding for a certain project. Once the funds have been allocated, no-one bothers to investigate whether things might be done more cheaply in some other way.


Impact is the general effect (both positive and negative) of the policy, project or programme on the target group. Often different forms of impact can be distinguished, direct and indirect, intended and unintended.

Various sport and development organisations offer courses for trainers. What happens with the knowledge gained in the course? Where do the trainers wind up? Do they wind up in a position where they can usefully apply their knowledge and use it to further develop the sport and strengthen the organisation?


Sustainability means that the results of the activity endure after the financing has stopped. It must be investigated in advance whether the objectives achieved can and will remain in existence without further external support.

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