Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is critically important to ensure that INL program planning objectives are being met and that the Bureau sees a return on investment through performance management. In addition, formal M&E provides a prescribed framework to assist in verifying that Bureau oversight responsibilities are properly documented.
Initial program monitoring endeavors centered upon a substantial agenda of output data gathering and analysis, especially in projects that have been largely self-reporting to date. These initial steps have been augmented by a formalized Bureau Evaluation Plan and M&E guidelines that are now being implemented. Finally, the Bureau is in the process of developing a Strategic Performance Indicator (SPI) system that will capture the objectives, inputs, outputs, intended outcomes, and leading indicators of a program in order to provide a substantive program management score-card for each of the Bureau’s programs.
M&E mechanisms for program/project assessment will vary based upon the scope and size of the program. Ultimately they range in rigor from basic program officer monitoring to full evaluations conducted by independent evaluators. Examples of methods for ongoing monitoring and final (and possible mid-term) evaluation includes the following:
Over the past four years, a majority of the Bureau’s bilateral and interagency agreements have been amended or rewritten to mandate performance measures that are tangible, achievable and attributable– usually in the form of outputs or outcomes. Additionally, the development and implementation of standard M&E guidelines, the Bureau Evaluation Plan, and tools such as the SPI system will enhance the Bureau’s capability for effective performance management. During this budget period, the Bureau will build towards full, formalized and timely monitoring and analysis of all significant programs.