An assessment of the components of an effective monitoring and evaluation system in local NGOs : a case study of Earthchild project

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Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH SUMMARY : This research study is primarily motivated by the need to provide continuous and systematic information about the institutionalisation of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems within the context of non-governmental organisations implementing social programmes. An effective M&E system has become a mechanism that organisations can use to improve their projects and accountability. However, studies have revealed that, while effective M&E systems are successfully developed, not all of these are implemented. In addition, when some of these systems are utilised, they are only partially implemented. One reason cited is the complexity of M&E systems, making implementation difficult. This study seeks to investigate the components that make an effective M&E system and to use these components to assess the use of M&E in a local non-governmental organisation (NGO). The main objectives are to examine what constitutes an effective M&E system and highlight its key components; present a conceptual framework that will serve as a useful diagnostic aid; document M&E systems currently adopted by selected NGOs, both locally and internationally; analyse the M&E system and institutionalisation practices of a selected case study against the developed conceptual framework; and, lastly, to offer recommendations for more effective institutionalisation of M&E practices in the selected case study based on the practices of other NGOs. A case study approach followed by a qualitative method approach was employed to analyse the implementation of the M&E systems in the NGO of Earthchild Project (ECP), which is based in Muizenberg, Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Semi-structured questionnaires administered through interviews were used to collect primary data. Key informants were purposefully selected for the study. Content analysis was also employed to better understand the case study. The findings of the research study reveal that the institutionalisation of effective M&E systems is comprised of components that include purpose and scope, critical reflection events and processes, human resources, documentation, capacitation and motivation of staff, as well as commitment by management to generate and use M&E information. The study found that Earthchild Project has no formal M&E unit or M&E practitioners. It further notes supervision problems resulting predominantly from the absence of M&E guidelines to inform the implementation of M&E, as well as the absence of clear roles, responsibilities and processes for reporting on Earthchild Project activities. Based on the study findings, key recommendations are to develop an M&E plan and to properly document all aspects of the ECP M&E system. In addition, the NGO should develop an M&E budget that will assist in alleviating the current shortage of M&E human resources and skills; provide capacity building and training to the project staff undertaking M&E responsibilities; and encourage participation of all stakeholders. For management, it is recommended that a supportive evaluation culture be built that encourages learning and critical reflection, that stakeholder participation and engagement be supported and stakeholder’s feedback be incorporate into the organisation’s broader decision-making processes.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Geen opsomming beskikbaar.
Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.
Monitoring and evaluation system -- Evaluation -- Muizenberg (South Africa), Non-governmental organizations -- Muizenberg (South Africa), Earthchild -- Muizenberg (South Africa), UCTD