3.3 Resources for monitoring and evaluation

Inadequate resources lead to poor quality monitoring and evaluation. To ensure effective and quality monitoring and evaluation, it is critical to set aside adequate financial and human resources at the planning stage. The required financial and human resources for monitoring and evaluation should be considered within the overall costs of delivering the agreed results and not as additional costs.

Financial resources for monitoring and evaluation should be estimated realistically at the time of planning for monitoring and evaluation. While it is critical to plan for monitoring and evaluation together, resources for each function should be separate. In practice, each project should have two separate budget lines for its monitoring and evaluation agreed in advance with partners. This will help UNDP and its partners be more realistic in budgeting. It will also reduce the risk of running out of resources for evaluation, which often takes place towards the end of implementation.

Monitoring and evaluation costs associated with projects can be identified relatively easily and be charged directly to the respective project budgets with prior agreement among partners through inclusion in the project budget or Annual Work Plan (AWP) signed by partners.

Sourcing and securing financial resources for monitoring and evaluation of outcomes or programmes can pose additional challenges, as there is not one project where these costs can be directly charged. The most commonly observed financing mechanism is to draw resources together from relevant projects. Some additional possibilities include:

  • Create a separate monitoring and evaluation fund, facility or project associated with an outcome or a programme to which all the constituent projects would contribute through transfer of some project funds. This facility could be located in the same entity that manages the outcome or programme.
  • Mobilize funds from partners directly for an outcome or programme monitoring and evaluation facility.
  • Allocate required funds annually for each outcome on the basis of planned costs of monitoring and evaluation from overall programme budget to the facility or fund.

It is important that partners consider the resources needed for monitoring and evaluation and agree on a practical arrangement to finance the associated activities. Such arrangements should be documented at the beginning of the programme to enable partners to transfer necessary funds in accordance with their procedures, which could take considerable time and effort.

Human resources are critical for effective monitoring and evaluation, even after securing adequate financial resources. For high-quality monitoring and evaluation, there should be:

  • Dedicated staff time—For effective monitoring and evaluation, staff should be dedicated for the function. The practices of deployment of personnel for monitoring vary among organizations. Some UNDP country offices have established monitoring and evaluation units with specific terms of references (ToRs), dedicated skilled staff, work plans and other resources.
  • Skilled personnel—Staff entrusted with monitoring should have required technical expertise in the area. A number of UNDP country offices have a dedicated monitoring and evaluation specialist. Where necessary, skill levels should be augmented to meet the needs and with ongoing investments in developing such capacity within the office as necessary.

Each monitoring and evaluation entity that functions at different levels, for example at the project, programme or outcome level, should have a clear ToR outlining its role and responsibilities. In general, these responsibilities should include:

  • Setting up systematic monitoring frameworks and developing an evaluation plan
  • Meeting regularly with key partners and stakeholders to assess progress towards achieving the results
  • Conducting joint field monitoring and evaluation missions to assess achievements and constraints
  • Identifying any lessons or good practices
  • Reflecting on how well the results being achieved are addressing gender, and the interests and rights of marginalized and vulnerable groups in the society
  • Identifying additional capacity development needs among stakeholders and partners
  • Reporting regularly to the lead individuals or agencies for the particular result areas and seeking opportunities to influence policy and decision-making processes
  • Ensuring the quality of monitoring and evaluation work and providing guidance as needed
  • Assessing the relevance of the M&E framework on a regular basis based on emerging development priorities and changing context
Specific considerations for budgeting and financing for evaluation

Programme units should estimate and indicate financial requirements and financing means for each evaluation in the evaluation plan. When estimating the cost for an evaluation, the duration and scope of the evaluation should be considered. The duration of an evaluation will be determined by its purpose. An evaluation conducted early in implementation, which tends to focus on programme or project design issues, is apt to be less complex and entail a smaller scope, hence requiring less data than would a ‘heavier’ exercise conducted at the end of the project or the programming cycle. The greater the complexity and scope of an evaluation, the longer time and more detailed work will be needed by the evaluation team to collect required data. This may increase evaluators’ total fees. Programme units should be realistic in terms of the scope and complexity of the evaluation vis-à-vis available resources. 

In addition, the availability and accessibility of primary and secondary data (monitoring, regular reporting and evaluation) and data collection methods influence the cost of the evaluation exercise. In the absence of reliable data, the evaluators need to spend more time and resources to locate or generate information. The appropriateness of allocated resources should be assessed together with the commissioned external evaluators based on the work programme submitted by them.

If an evaluation is carried out jointly with government or donors in the context of a larger outcome or government evaluation, the programme unit should agree on resourcing modalities with potential donors or government counterparts at the outset.  Box 19 outlines the key items that are required for the evaluation. The programme unit responsible for the evaluation should ensure that every item is considered.

Box 19. Key issues to be considered in costing an evaluation

  • Evaluators and external advisers, and expenses related to their duties

Evaluation consultants and expert advisory panel members (if any)

    • One evaluator or a team? How many in a team? What is the composition (national or international)?
    • How many days will be required for each consultant and advisor?
    • What would be the daily rate ranged for each one of them?
    • Any cost associated with hiring?
    • Are the advisory panel members paid (daily fees, honorarium)?

Travel requirements 

    • What types of travel expenses will be incurred? For example, how many times does the team need to travel to the country or field? What travel requirements exist for briefings in UNDP offices, interviews with stakeholders, data collection activities, stakeholder meetings, etc.? 
    • What would be the primary mode of travel (air, project vehicle, etc.)? Is there a need for special modes of transportation due to accessibility and security considerations?
    • For how many days and what are the allowances?
  • Requirements for consultations with stakeholders
    • Are there regular meetings with the steering committee members to discuss the progress of the evaluation? Will there be a meeting with wider stakeholders to discuss the findings and recommendations of the evaluation? How many and who will be invited? What would be the cost associated with renting venues, and bringing in stakeholders (allowances and travel expensense) and refreshments?
  • Data collection and analysis tools and methods
    • What are methods of data collection? If surveys and/or questionnaires will be used, what is the target population and area to be covered? What resources are required (fees for enumerators, including their travel expenses, etc.)? Is there a need for researchers to complete a detailed analysis of data collected?
  • Any supplies needed? For example, office supplies, computer software for data analysis, etc.
  • Communication costs
    • What are the phone, Internet and fax usage requirements?
    • If surveys or questionnaires are conducted, how will they be administered (mail, Internet, telephone, etc.?)
  • Publication and dissemination of evaluation reports and other products, including translation costs, if needed.
  • Are there any resources allocated for incidentals?
  • Are there partners for the evaluation? Is this evaluation cost-shared? What would be the cost to UNDP?