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Monitoring and evaluation system and framework

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The knowledge of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system and framework is critical for effective planning and management of the project life-cycle, providing a clear understanding of the M&E process and the relationship that exist between project activities. Indeed an M&E framework helps enhance understanding, guides the development of an M&E plan, provides the basis to implement M&E activities and helps define the relationship among inputs, activities, output, outcomes and impact. M&E systems guide the implementation process and also present the opportunity to gather relevant results of information regarding progress for effective decision making and efficient communication amongst stakeholders to foster interaction among stakeholders to build team spirit. A detailed description and illustration of key M&E frameworks and systems are discussed in reference to construction project delivery.


In the quest to have a functional M&E system, a clear and working framework is very important to guide the entire process of M&E (Frankel and Gage, 2007). A framework explains how a programme should work by itemizing the components of the initiative and the steps in order to achieve the desired results, i.e. the aims and objectives of the M&E process. The framework further increases the level of understanding of the programme’s objectives while giving meaningful definition to the relationship between key factor to implementation and articulates by giving reliable details of the internal and external elements that could affect the programmes success. Ile et al. (2012) define a framework as a skeleton or structure that provides a graphical depiction of the critical components of the project and how elements are systematically interlinked from the beginning to the end. Omonyo (2015) explains a framework as a guide to develop a useful M&E system. Frameworks operationalize how the project is supposed to work by laying out the components and steps required to achieve the desired outcome or results (UNDP, 2009). The framework also outlines the relationship between implementation variables and identifies all other elements that could impede project success.

Shapes such as squares, circles, triangles and stars which are linked with arrows or lines could be used to describe the relationship between different activities in an M&E framework (He et al., 2012). The importance of framework can therefore not be underestimated in the study and practice of M&E. Indeed, the lack of an evaluation framework has an adverse effect on project success (Al-Otaibi, 2011). An M&E framework helps enhance understanding, guides the development of an M&E plan, provides the basis to implement M&E activities and helps define the relationship among inputs, activities, output, outcomes and impact (Omonyo, 2015). He further indicates that M&E frameworks describe how activities will lead to the desired output, outcome and impact.

A well-thought-out M&E framework can assist greatly with thinking through programmatic strategies, objectives and planned activities and whether they are indeed the most appropriate ones to implement. Programmes should select the type of framework that best suits their strategies and activities and responds to institutional requirements. An appropriate framework for M&E of activities can be designed and implemented even when programmes do not have significant resources and where a programme staff and implementers, service providers and policy-makers feel they do not have additional time to devote to M&E (Frankel & Gage, 2007). Several M&E frameworks exist with none being superior to the other (Frankel & Gage, 2007). Developing or selecting an M&E framework for a project is founded on the needs or requirements of the stakeholders, clients or donor partners or the specific nature of the project (He et al., 2012; Omonyo, 2015). It is important therefore to select appropriate frameworks that will give a clearer picture of the processes in the M&E of projects. This framework, as discussed in UNDP, (2009), serves as a plan for project M&E and should clarify what is to be monitored and evaluated, the activities needed to monitor and evaluate, who is responsible for M&E activities, when M&E activities are planned (timing), how M&E activities are carried out (methods), what resources are required and where they are committed (UNDP, 2009).

UNDP (2009) asserts that relevant risks and assumptions in carrying out planned M&E activities should be seriously considered, anticipated and included in the M&E framework. Three common types of M&E frameworks are discussed in this study, namely the conceptual or narrative framework, the logical framework or the logic models and results framework (Frankel & Gage, 2007).

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