Programming Essentials, Monitoring & Evaluation
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Why is monitoring and evaluation important?

Last edited: October 31, 2010

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Monitoring and evaluation are critical for building a strong, global evidence base around violence against women and for assessing the wide, diverse range of interventions being implemented to address it. At the global level, it is a tool for identifying and documenting successful programmes and approaches and tracking progress toward common indicators across related projects. Monitoring and evaluation forms the basis of strengthening understanding around the many multi-layered factors underlying violence against women, women’s experiences with such violence, and the effectiveness of the response at the service provider, community, national and international level.

This is critically important because while the global evidence base on the proportion of women having ever experienced various forms of abuse is strong, evidence on what kinds of strategies are effective in preventing such violence and offering adequate support to victims and survivors is still weak. This is especially relevant in resource poor areas, where difficult decisions need to be made with respect to funding priorities.

At the programme level, the purpose of monitoring and evaluation is to track implementation and outputs systematically, and measure the effectiveness of programmes. It helps determine exactly when a programme is on track and when changes may be needed. Monitoring and evaluation forms the basis for modification of interventions and assessing the quality of activities being conducted.

Monitoring and evaluation can be used to demonstrate that programme efforts have had a measurable impact on expected outcomes and have been implemented effectively. It is essential in helping managers, planners, implementers, policy makers and donors acquire the information and understanding they need to make informed decisions about programme operations.

Monitoring and evaluation helps with identifying the most valuable and efficient use of resources. It is critical for developing objective conclusions regarding the extent to which programmes can be judged a “success”. Monitoring and evaluation together provide the necessary data to guide strategic planning, to design and implement programmes and projects, and to allocate, and re-allocate resources in better ways.

(Adapted from Gage and Dunn 2009, Frankel and Gage 2007)

For initiatives addressing violence against women, monitoring and evaluation is more than a costing or cost-effectiveness exercise. It is a way of ensuring women and girls are able to live their lives free from violence and abuse.

What can be learned in general from monitoring and evaluation of initiatives on violence against women?

What interventions and strategies are effective at preventing and responding to violence against women and girls?

What puts women at greater risk than others

What services are needed to help women and girls recover from violence?

What could be the role of different sectors in addressing and preventing violence?

What other factors (social, economic, political, cultural etc.) play a role in perpetuating vulnerability to violence or hindering access to services?

What kinds of investments produce more promising results/ how much do they cost? (Adapted from Watts 2008)

What can be learned about specific interventions from monitoring?

Are the proposed activities being carried out in the manner outlined? Why/ why not?

What services are provided, to whom, when, how often, for how long, in what context?

Are services accessible? Is the quality adequate?  Is the target population being reached?

Are women being further harmed or endangered because of the intervention?

Have there been any unforeseen consequences as a result of the activities?

Are activities leading to expected results?

Do the interventions or assumptions need to be amended in any way?


What can be learned about specific interventions from evaluation?

The outcomes that were observed?

Whether the intervention is making a difference?

If yes, what actual difference the intervention is making; how it is making this difference and for whom.

The extent to which the intervention is responsible for the measured or observed changes.

The unforeseen consequences, if any, that resulted from the intervention?


What are some important questions that an evaluation can help answer?

Is the intervention feasible and acceptable?
Did it have an impact?

Why or why not? How and for whom did it have an impact?

Are the results credible?

Is it affordable and cost effective?

Can the cost be compared with alternatives to investment?

Is it replicable to other settings?

Where is it replicable? Where is it not replicable?

Are the results likely to be generalizable?

Can it be scaled up? That is, can the intervention be adapted, replicated or built on to increase its reach or scope (for a larger population or a different region)?

If yes, how can it be scaled up? What aspects can be scaled up?

(Adapted from Watts 2008)