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Power and perceptions in participatory monitoring and evaluation


  • Parkinson, Sarah


This paper examines the assumptions that commonly underpin the design of participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) within development programmes through the examination of a case study of a large rural development programme in Uganda. This case study reveals a mismatch between programme assumptions and participant perceptions, which stymied the implementation of PM&E. In this case, PM&E was based on the assumptions that programme and participant goals were compatible, participants were willing to volunteer and engage themselves for the greater good of their communities, and information sharing and communication was fairly free and open. However, farmers within the programme felt that the bureaucratic and accountability requirements of the programme were not their concern, and were acutely aware of power differences between farmers and programme officials, and between farmers of varying status. The key lesson to be drawn from this case is the need for a heightened awareness of power dynamics and political factors in the design of PM&E.

Suggested Citation

  • Parkinson, Sarah, 2009. "Power and perceptions in participatory monitoring and evaluation," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 229-237, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:32:y:2009:i:3:p:229-237

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Holte-McKenzie, Merydth & Forde, Sarah & Theobald, Sally, 2006. "Development of a participatory monitoring and evaluation strategy," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 365-376, November.
    2. Bamberger, Michael, 1991. "The politics of evaluation in developing countries," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 325-339, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Totin, Edmond & van Mierlo, Barbara & Mongbo, Roch & Leeuwis, Cees, 2015. "Diversity in success: Interaction between external interventions and local actions in three rice farming areas in Benin," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 119-130.
    2. Granderson, Ainka A., 2011. "Enabling multi-faceted measures of success for protected area management in Trinidad and Tobago," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 185-195, August.
    3. Levin-Rozalis, Miri, 2010. "Cybernetics: A possible solution for the "knowledge gap" between "external" and "internal" in evaluation processes," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 333-342, November.
    4. Guerra-López, Ingrid & Hicks, Karen, 2015. "The participatory design of a performance oriented monitoring and evaluation system in an international development environment," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 21-30.


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