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Towards an understanding of civil society organisations' involvement in monitoring and evaluation


  • Gildemyn, Marie


The focus on Aid effectiveness and the adoption of aid modalities, such as budget support, has put the spotlight on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). Both donors and recipient countries are asked to reform their M&E system in line with the principles of the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action. These reforms should improve country-led M&E systems and enable them to perform their dual function: 1) strengthening (domestic) accountability to ensure the implementation of programmes and policies, and, 2) provide feedback to improve programmes and policies. This paper will focus on one aspect of the M&E reforms: the involvement of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in M&E systems, either in an institutionalized or independent way. As a first step to understand how M&E in general, and CSO-led M&E in particular, can fulfil its dual function, the concepts of accountability and feedback will be unpacked drawing upon a broad range of literature. Theories around accountability provide insights about the ways in which CSOs can use M&E evidence to improve domestic accountability. Secondly, public policy analysis theories highlight the complex and non-linear character of policy-making and change. Thirdly, the literature on evaluation use and influence explains the different ways in which evaluation can influence policymakers (or not). Last, the literature on research - policy interface focuses on the different factors that are mediating the influence of CSO-led M&E on programmes and policies. Building further on the main elements of the literature discussed, the paper will then present a conceptual framework that aims to increase our understanding of CSOs' involvement in M&E in the current development context.

Suggested Citation

  • Gildemyn, Marie, 2011. "Towards an understanding of civil society organisations' involvement in monitoring and evaluation," IOB Discussion Papers 2011.03, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
  • Handle: RePEc:iob:dpaper:2011003

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