Monitoring and Learning in Politically Smart and Adaptive Programmes

By Taylor Brown

We recently hosted a workshop on Monitoring and learning in politically smart and adaptive programmes.
A summary of this workshop can be found here:

This workshop brought together a small group of researchers, consultants and other development professionals to explore the ways in which Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (ME&L) can enhance rather than constrain politically smart, locally led interventions. In particular we looked at:

  • How to monitor and measure outcomes without over-specifying expected results ex-ante;
  • How to apply an adaptive, ‘learning by doing approach’ while simultaneously delivering measurable results and being accountable to funders;
  • How to monitor, evaluate and learn lessons about crucial but less tangible outcomes of interventions; and
  • How the political economy incentives facing development agencies can support or constrain the use of these approaches more widely.

We explored eight case studies of programmes that have developed innovative and effective approaches to ME&L. From these cases, we identified a range of approaches and tools that can improve our ability to track results over time and give us the operational space and evidence required for innovation and learning.

This is an area that clearly needs more reflection and analysis. We will be looking at these and other case studies in the coming months, so it would be great to get your thoughts on other projects warrant further analysis and what other tools and approaches we should explore. Please share your thoughts on the forum.

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