Building Capacity for Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation: Integrating Stakeholders’ Perspectives
The idea of participation in development and, with it, participatory methodologies have now become widely accepted internationally. The language of participation is used by multilaterals such as the World Bank and many United Nations agencies, as well as by bilateral donors. International non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have played an important role in catalysing the spread of participatory methodologies worldwide. In the recent past, research organizations have also embraced participatory approaches, innovation-system perspectives and systems thinking. Participatory approaches have the potential to substantially increase the downward accountability in the development process and to contribute to empowerment of civil society (Chambers and Guijt, 1995; Chambers, 1997, 2005). While many agricultural research and development (ARD) organizations have embraced these approaches, especially in planning and implementation (Maguire, 1987), they o�en revert to traditional models when the time for programme evaluation arrives (Abbot and Guĳt, 1998). Most evaluations in ARD organizations are conducted, with some exceptions, by consultants or outside researchers, rather than through participatory evaluation involving project stakeholders (Grundy, 1997). These evaluations are driven more by donor criteria and demands for accountability than by local needs and long-term interest in programme improvement. The shortcomings of such traditional evaluations are well documented and include evaluation questions developed by consultants and donors with a narrow focus; limited use of evaluation results for programme improvement; lack of capacitybuilding for mainstreaming evaluation practice into organizations; lack of integration of local knowledge to achieve programme improvement; and collection of data not responsive to the needs of programme staﬀ and stakeholders (Carden, 1997; Pa�on, 1997; Sanders, 2003).