Utilisation of Monitoring and Evaluation Systems by Development Agencies: The Case of the UNDP in Zimbabwe
Zvoushe Hardlife, Gideon Zhou

The study examines the utilisation of Monitoring and Evaluation Systems (M&Es) by international development agencies, using the UNDP in Zimbabwe as the case study. M&Es are now used across the world by organisations to track progress, measure and evaluate outcomes. To this end, the study reviewed success story country experiences in Australia, Sri Lanka and Uganda as a basis for a comparative analysis with UNDP systems. In-depth interviews were also conducted with various categories of UNDP staff. The study noted that the UNDP in Zimbabwe is yet to install a comprehensive M&E system. It does not have a standalone monitoring and evaluation department. Its systems are at the formulation stage. The critical specialist personnel for the monitoring and evaluation function are yet to be recruited. Clear-cut baseline and performance indicators are also to be established. There is also low note systematic use of evaluation findings from previous programmes while its evaluation approaches have a disturbing skew towards the quantitative. Such overly quantitative approaches carry the risk of sidelining the impact of contextual factors in development programmes and projects. Against this backdrop, the study recommends speedy implementation of the M&E systems through the formulation of appropriate system designs and baseline indicators, strict and routine follow-ups on the implementation of evaluation findings and use of multi-disciplinary evaluation frameworks. Specialist services unit for monitoring and evaluation should be established to cater for technical challenges in the designing and implementation of M&E systems.

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