M&E Thursday Talks – Top 10 Tips for Organizational M&E Capacity Development

This is the M&E Thursday Talk from Thursday, December 12, when Scott Chaplowe, Director of EME (Climate) at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, led a discussion on the Top 10 Tips for Organizational M&E Capacity Development.”

Scott examined 10 key considerations for planning and delivering effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) capacity development in organizations. Building these capacities involves improving the ability of people to solve problems, achieve objectives, and perform better over time. The more people engage with M&E, the more they will understand and take ownership of the M&E process, the data collected, and ultimately the recommendations it provides.

This webinar drew largely from the research conducted for the book, “Monitoring and Evaluation Training; A Systematic Approach,” and Scott’s experience working with a range of organizations.

Click here to download the full presentation.

Our Q&A session was full of questions, and we didn’t have enough time to get to them all. After the live webinar, Scott was able to respond to the unasked questions:

  • Interested with avoiding alienated evaluation – How best can we do this at the SP stage? Any tips? Just about every book on evaluation will have a chapter on stakeholder engagement..and for good reason. Meaningful stakeholder engagement during the SP stage can ensure understanding and eventual ownership of evaluation findings. This means allowing stakeholders to actively participate in defining the purpose and key questions to be answered in the evaluation. Another way to engage stakeholders for support is to use an Advisory Group consisting of representatives from different stakeholder groups, who can be involved in the review of each deliverable for the evaluation, from the inception report to the evaluation report.
  • Organizational M&E CD is never one and done (for various contextual factors including staff turnover, top management change) – Thoughts?  Very good point and I agree. CD is a journey, especially with staff turnover and strategy realignment.
  •  Activity tracking or indicator tracking which one is more viable from your end?  Both are important as the activity tracking should feed into the indicator tracking (table).
  • Kindly expound on how to effectively monitor and evaluate M&E development efforts to learn and adapt; example of an indicator maybe? I like to keep it concrete. Meaning there are a lot of process level activities and outputs that can be captured, such as trainings delivered, but at the impact level, what is concrete would be what you want participants to be able to do after the training. For instance, “#/% project logic models submitted complete and on time.”
  • Do you think that KAP report can be used as baseline data source? How much this is appropriate for soft DRR activities?  It will depend on the context, but certainly measures of KAP (at the household or community level) are used as a baseline data point, often triangulated with other data sources.
  • Feedback mechanism, which is critical in ensuring quality programming, is usually a challenge in humanitarian emergency settings. How do go around that to ensure beneficiaries’ voice and other stakeholders input is considered? Agree it is important, and there is no one way to ensure a well-functioning feedback mechanism, especially in humanitarian contexts where people are often internally displaced. I recommend multiple mediums and outlets, as different people feel comfortable in different ways sharing feedback, especially when it is critical. Check out I also recommend making the distinction between a complaints mechanism versus a feedback mechanism – the latter has legal grievance and must be followed-up accordingly.
  • Any database or source to access set of indicators? There are an assortment of indicator databases, compendiums, and registries. I recommend you take a look at the Indicator Registry of UN-OCHA.
  • How do I join the evaluation profession bodies? I recommend that you directly contact a VOPE relevant to your location and interest. You can find listings of VOPEs and their contact info at

1 comment on “M&E Thursday Talks – Top 10 Tips for Organizational M&E Capacity Development”

Thanks for the wonderful presentation.

I have 11 years work experience in M&E but recently faced with a challenge of my entire work life, please help me.

Currently, I work for an international organisation and recently grappling on how to bring 20 different Country Programs at the same page on M&E concepts and application. We need to improve the M&E capacity/system in the organisation, but first begin with capacity building on basic M&E concepts all round. As a global MEL team, we came up with a capacity building strategy to rolled-out in about a year to ensure all country office programs understand all basics of M&E, program context and begin to put in place system (tools, processes and procedures) on their own – in phased manner as we cover concepts by concepts.

About a week ago, we invited all Country Office Directors to share our strategy of the full scale capacity building and their feedback was very demotivating, they indicated their programs are not that incapacitated to begin with basic – what is M&E? and everything? They also think the capacity building process timeline is too long and unnecessary. But the truth is, our capacity assessment in the country offices indicated there are capacity needs varying across countries, dyer and on different M&E concepts/application. We then rationally agreed that our best beginning point is being sure everybody understand basic M&E concepts, and can adapt them to our program context – a reason for a full scale design training for all countries.

While we admit that there countries with slightly better capacity and understanding of the concept, Africa and some Asian countries are not on the same page. But even those countries with some capacity, have systems that are not very coordinated and replicable in other countries. Advise me on how we should re-structure this capacity strategy if necessary to get their buy in and get sound M&E kick start in this organisation.

Walter Okello

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