A new direction for the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Community of Practice

Last year BRIDGE and the South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association (SAMEA) began discussions on working together through BRIDGE’s M&E community of practice (CoP). Both organisations recognised common aims in their work: to share information, resources and knowledge about M&E, and to build capacity around M&E in the education sector.

The first M&E CoP meeting of 2018 on 13 March launched this partnership. The M&E CoP, now falling under the category of a ‘cross-cutting’ CoP, considered how the community could be re-shaped as a learning space for monitoring and evaluation for all participants.

M&E is a tool for measuring progress towards an organisation’s or programme’s outcomes, understanding its impact and learning from practice. As such it can help those involved in a programme to identify what is working and what is not, and some of the reasons why, which in turn can help with strategic planning going forward. In this sense, there is a growing recognition that all those involved in working towards the betterment of educational outcomes need to improve their M&E skills. The work of the M&E CoP aims at strengthening and informing the sector in response to this need.  In addition, M&E professionals themselves need to be informed by some of the practical and contextual issues that affect the unrolling and implementation of educational engagements.

Over 55 people attended the meeting, including regulars and new participants. Those attending represented a range of M&E expertise, on the spectrum of emerging and experienced M&E professionals, to other education practitioners with a ‘beginner’ interest in M&E. Indeed, the mixed profile of this CoP is a key feature of the community as a space in which to learn; while those who have not had much exposure to M&E as a discipline can learn from the professionals. It was equally acknowledged that M&E professionals can learn from implementers who share context dynamics as these affect M&E systems.

At the meeting Jerusha Govender presented on the concept of ‘purpose-driven’ M&E, based on the notion that useful data must take contextual factors into account in order to drive change and improvement in programme design and delivery.

To view Jerusha’s presentation click here.

She also talked about the role of SAMEA and how BRIDGE and SAMEA can work together for the benefit of the education sector. BRIDGE’s CoP members are encouraged to join SAMEA, so that the synergies between the CoP and SAMEA can be built on for collaboration through the CoP.

CoP participants then held a number of discussions in response to some key questions relating to how BRIDGE and the community can move forward in order to develop a ‘learning framework’ for the CoP this year. To read the Meeting Highlights, click here.