TOPIC 6: PROJECT MONITORING AND EVALUATION REPORT
1. Importance of report writing
2. Types of reports
3. Factors to consider in report writing
4. Format of Monitoring and Evaluation Reports
5. Dissemination of Reports
IMPORTANCE OF REPORT WRITING
A Report is
A tool that tracks work, helps identify risks, provides documentation and keeps stakeholders informed about projects.
Any informational work made with an intention to relay information or recounting certain
events in a presentable manner.
An administrative necessity.
Most official form of information or work are completed via report.
Reports are often conveyed in writing, speech, television, or film.
TYPES OF REPORTS
Reports can be referenced as:
Routine – occurring on a regular basis Special – those that are required to cover a specific subject or task Technical – these cover complex technical issues
The type of report you will write will be determined the subject you are writing on. Based on the subject, there are lots of different kinds of reports, such as: Annual reports- An annual report is a comprehensive report on (Project /Programme /company’s/organization’s activities throughout the preceding year. Annual reports are intended to give shareholders and other interested people information about the Project /Programme /companies/organization’s activities and financial performance. Budget reports- A report detailing a company’s planned expenditures and allowing comparison to what they actually were. … The budget report helps project team, donor ,organization, Company determine how closely its budgets mirror reality and how well it manages its costs. The difference between the budgeted and actual amount is called the budget variance.
Project reports- Project reporting is the formalized recording of project progress and (interim) project results. On the basis of a target/actual comparison of the individual controlling aspects, project status reports are created and presented to a defined target group.
Recommendation reports- A recommendation report is written to propose or recommend the options available to solve a problem or fill a need. The goal of the report is to compare options, recommend one option, and support that recommendation.
Project Appraisal reports-Project appraisal is the process of assessing, in a structured way, the case for proceeding with a project or proposal, or the project’s viability. It often involves comparing various options, using economic appraisal or some other decision analysis
technique. Evaluation reports-The evaluation report is the key product of the evaluation process. Its purpose is to provide a transparent basis for accountability for results, for decision-making on policies and programmes, for learning, for drawing lessons and for improvement. Research reports- Research reports are recorded data prepared researchers or statisticians after analyzing information gathered conducting organized research, typically in the form of surveys or qualitative methods. Contractual reports-Reports on the legal, regulatory, and other compliance standards through the contract lifecycle.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER IN REPORT WRITING
Audience: When you choose words to express your ideas, you have to think not only about what makes sense and sounds good to you, but what will make sense and sound best to your readers. Thinking about your audience and their expectations will help you make decisions
about word choice. Purpose: Why do you write? Is it to educate or entertain? Is it to convince or inform? Identifying the reason(s) behind the piece of writing you’re working on − be it a blog, a short story or an academic essay− is essential to avoid missing the mark. After all, you wouldn’t use the same language if you were sharing your findings with your fellow students as opposed to writing about your research to educate a mass audience. Context: Any topic exists within a larger context.. Understanding the big picture is key to writing effectively no matter what your purpose is. Media. The media will very much influence the style and formats in the report Language: The language you use in your writing depends very much on how you’ve defined the elements above. Always have a mental image of your readers, keep the purpose and context in mind, and remember what medium your writing is intended for. Thinking about language also means thinking about what not to write or choosing your words carefully and sensitively. Information- ensures that the report gives all the information required the terms or’ reference. Structure- the subject should be arranged in the appropriate logical sequence and the
sentence structure is clear. Display- there should be a reasonable economy of paper and expressions language the report should be free of grammatical errors and the vocabulary should not be abstract. Features of a good Report Proper Form: A report must be in the proper form. Sometimes there are statutory forms to follow. Presentation: A report needs an attractive presentation. It depends on the quality of typing or printing as well as quality of paper used. Readability: The keynote of a report is readability. The style of presentation and the diction (use of words) shall be such that the readers find it attractive and he is compelled to read the report from the beginning to the end.
Logical Sequence: The points in a report shall be arranged with a logical sequence, step step and not in a haphazard manner. A planning is necessary before a report is prepared. Positivity: As far as possible positive statements should be made instead of negative ones. For example, it is better to say what should be done and not what should not be done. Impersonal Approach-When a report is prepared as a source of information and when it is merely factual (e.g. a report on a meeting), the approach shall be impersonal and the sentences should be in the third person and in indirect speech. Simplicity: The language shall be as simple as possible so that a report is easily understandable. Even in a technical report there shall be restricted use of technical terms if it has to be presented to laymen. Clarity: The language shall be lucid and straight, clearly expressing what is intended to be expressed.
FORMAT FOR MONITORING AND EVALUATION REPORT
It is worth noting that different organization have and give reporting templets to project implementers however the following parts are common to the said templates: Title page: Includes the Name of organization, Name of the project, the period of the project and the year the report was written. One can also include the author of the report. Abbreviations: All abbreviations used in the report should be listed here. This should be in alphabetical order
Acknowledgements: In this page, acknowledge all those who have been instrumental in making the project a success, including donors, any experts, project staff, the government where necessary and all project partners. This should be kept to not more than one page.
Shorter is better Executive summary: The executive summary should contain a brief of the whole report, encompassing the most important details that you would require any reader to take home. Most people, especially the donors, will only read this section, therefore, and ensure it reflects the whole report. A good way is to dedicate a paragraph each to the main sections of the
report including the background, the methodology, the results, conclusions, lessons learnt and recommendations. It is recommended to keep this strictly between one and two pages Table of contents: Contains a list of the items discussed in the report and their page
number.(Reports of 10 pages and more) Introduction: In this section, introduce the project and provide some background
information. It should also include information on what the project goal, objectives, indicators, partners, and information at baseline study if applicable. Necessary subsections can be created where necessary for easier following. Methodology: Here, information on how the evaluation was carried out is included. Issues to consider include the research methodology, sources of information and how it was
gathered, sample size and sampling techniques, research instruments, validity and reliability issues among others.
Results: This section includes a detailed analysis of the findings of the evaluation study of the project. Results are compared against the objectives of the project, or against the project indicators. Consider having sub-sections. Conclusions, Lessons Learnt and Recommendations: What conclusions can be made from the results shared? Were the objectives and the general purpose of the project met? What lessons can be drawn from the project? What works and what does not? What recommendations can be made for future similar projects? What should be maintained and what should be made for these future similar projects? Annexes: This section includes all the relevant documents necessary for interested persons. Each annex should be put in separate page
DESSIMINATION OF MONITORING AND EVALUATION REPORTS
Disseminating M&E results to those outside your program is often complex because different audiences will have different information needs. You will have more success disseminating results if you involve major stakeholders, budget adequate resources and develop a dissemination plan before results are finalized. Considerations: Determine the audience for M&E results and why you want to share them.
Many different audiences will be interested in evaluation results. Locally, there may be interest among community organizations, the media, government officials and social service agencies. At the regional or national level, professional colleagues, policymakers and funding agencies may need to learn of your results. Share both positive and negative findings. While every program wants to highlight positive findings, sharing results about what didn’t work is also important. Stakeholders also need to understand what is and isn’t working, to guide their support toward the most effective youth strategies. Further, most donors appreciate a program’s willingness to critically review its work; admitting what hasn’t worked well Tailoring Dissemination of Results to Different Audiences Many possible channels exist for presenting evaluation results. For some audiences, one approach may be sufficient (e.g., an all-day retreat with program staff). In other cases, you may want to disseminate results via numerous channels to ensure that the message you are trying to communicate reaches your targeted audience. For example, to reach community members, you might prepare a newspaper story and hold an evening meeting. In order to plan your dissemination, you must also assess:
➤ What budget is available,
➤ The cost of preparing and producing dissemination activities, and
➤ Who is capable of carrying out the activities.
Common Dissemination Formats
The most commonly used formats are written reports, oral presentations, press releases, fact sheets and slide or computer presentations.
While these formats differ in length, detail and the amount of technical information, some common elements are:
➤ logical organization,
➤ direct and concise language,
➤ use of appropriate illustrations and examples.
A written report combined with visual aids is an effective means of disseminating M&E results. Written reports can be used to provide an update on the program’s progress; document evaluation procedures, findings and recommendations; maintain an internal record of evaluation findings for program staff; and publicize important program information and
experiences. To write informative reports that people are likely to read, you should:
➤ use clear, simple language in the active voice,
➤ be brief and to the point,
➤ use attractive layouts, including headings, sub-headings and white space,
➤ use boxes, bullets, italics and bold fonts to emphasize important points, and
➤ use quotes, anecdotes and case studies to put a human face on the statistics you present. Visual aids such as maps, tables and charts, graphs, and photographs can be used effectively to summarize information and add “life” to a written report:
➤ Maps can illustrate areas eg with high rates of adolescent births, low birthweight babies, many school dropouts or high youth unemployment. They can also be used to show the program location and the projected impact of activities on the target population.
➤ Tables and charts are often used to show comparisons—e.g., local statistics in relation to state and national figures—or other information, such as a breakdown of teenage births according to the age of the mother.
➤ Line graphs can be used to illustrate change over a number of years, such as the number of adolescent births over the past 10 years in a community.
➤ Bar graphs can also illustrate change over time or changes among subgroups of the target population.
➤ Photographs can show your program in action, putting a face on the numbers you are presenting and making readers feel more connected to your project. They can also be used to document community participation in program activities. An evaluation report should emphasize only the most important and useful findings, highlighting information that you think will shape the decisions made staff, donors, policymakers, communities and youth. Keep descriptive information, such as the background of the program, to a minimum, as many readers will be familiar with the program. Include an executive summary—i.e., an overview of your main findings. This summary should be written so that it can be distributed independently, for example, to policymakers who may be less likely to read a full report. Oral presentations are another means of disseminating program results. Oral presentations provide a direct, concise overview of your findings and allow for discussion. You or your staff can give presentations at national meetings, in one on-one meetings with your board of directors or donors or to community forums. Successful presentations are direct and concise and feature visual aids such as slides or transparencies. Call attention to the most important points and fill in the details when your audience has a chance to ask questions. Visual aids help maintain the audience’s attention during presentations. Slides, overheads and posters—whether computer generated or hand-drawn—emphasize important points presenting information in an abbreviated form. Offer an appealing mix
of text (words) and graphics (images).
Press releases can generate media coverage of your findings. As more people gain access to newspapers, radio, television and the Internet, media coverage of your findings is gaining in importance. Many programs find that the most effective way to reach policymakers is to encourage media coverage of their evaluation results. A press release is a concise statement that presents an overview of your evaluation findings, which you give to the media. The media will usually use the release to develop a story, and it may prompt
them to seek additional information about your program’s activities.
Tips for Writing a Press Release
• Keep the information simple and clear.
• State the most important information in the first lines.
• Present at most three key findings.
• Limit the release to two double-spaced pages.
• Avoid technical or statistical terms.
• Include the date and information about whom to contact for more information
. • Send to multiple newspapers or radio stations at the same time.
• Send to producers and editors, as well as their staff reporters
Fact sheets convey findings in a short, concise format. Fact sheets are especially effective for advocacy, conveying information to policymakers and others who do not have the time to read longer reports. A fact sheet can also be used as a presentation handout or mailed to program stakeholders. Supply bulleted lists of major findings, keeping the list to under two pages in length.
Common methods of dissemination include:
Publishing program or policy briefs
Publishing project findings in national journals and state wide publications
Presenting at national conferences and meetings of professional associations
Presenting program results to local community groups and other local stakeholders
Creating and distributing program materials, such as flyers, guides, pamphlets and DVDs
Creating toolkits of training materials and curricula for other communities
Sharing information through social media or on an organization’s website
Summarizing findings in progress reports for funders
Disseminating information on an organization’s website
Discussing project activities on the local radio
Publishing information in the local newspaper
Issuing a press release
Hosting promotion events at fairs and social function
AREAS OF PROJECT MONITORING
1. Resource utilization–resource acquisition visualization, utilization and consumption are
a critical component for ensuring efficient and effective implementation of the project
To ensure that project activities are carried out there must be constant and regular flow of the resources. The resources must be utilized for the intended purposes. They should also be sourced and supplied as per the spent specification in terms of cst quantity
and quality Time schedule adhere a significant element in project monitoring
2. Benefits flow analysis– project monitoring is done to determine flow of project benefit directly to the intended beneficiaries .These benefits must be shared and distributed equally and equitably .The beneficiary must participate in the sharing of benefits and issues incurred from the project
3 Community participation and engagement —.>>> any project must ensure active genuine
voluntary and popular participation and involvement of not only the project beneficiaries but
also the community indirectly.
Genuine and popular participation will be monitored on the a/c of the following aspects
All the members of the community must participate \ actively involved and engaged
All members of the community must participate in all levels i .e project ides implementation and management
Participation in terms of sharing profits and losses incurred from the project.
Participation must not only be actively but also voluntary purposely genuinely and objective oriented
ELEMENTS OF PROJECT MONITORING FRAMEWORK
This are issues that need to be put in place in profit monitoring
We need to specify the people/ offices/ agencies/ that are going to use the information depending on who will use the information determine how you will resent it
Specify who will participate in project writing
What re key objectives of the project
Specify indicators to measure the progress
What methods are you going to use to gather information
Specify when monitoring will take place
Specify how the monitoring system is going to be managed
Specify who is going to manage the information
AN EXAMPLE OF A SHORT MONITORING PLAN
Sep to Oct, 2000\2001
Project officers\coordinators\communities\village committee
Community meetings whole program decisions are made shall have at least half men and half women present when live in the community
if the percentage of men and women present is less than 40% then the project manager helps the project committee create a plan to increase attendance of the next meeting
The records attendance figures monitor own counts of the people attending the meeting will be included in the monthly report of the project Process of Monitoring and Evaluation
Comparison /relationship between monitoring and evaluation
I. Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is a process that helps improve performance and achieve results.
II. Its goals are to improve current and future management of outputs outcomes and impact.
III. Monitoring and evaluation when carried out correctly and at the right time and place are two of the most important aspects of ensuring the success of many projects.
IV. There is a positive relationship between monitoring and evaluation and success of NGO project among others.
V. It is mainly used to access the performance of projects, instructions and programmed setup the government international organizations and NGO’S.
VI. It establishes links between the past, present and future actions in project management.
VII. M&E is used to access development thus many international organizations such as the united nations ,the world bank group and the organization of American States use M&E system to access the development project
VIII. The common ground for monitoring and evaluation is that they are both management tools.
IX. Monitoring and evaluation are complementary .During an evaluation as much use as possible is made of information from previous monitoring .In contrast to monitoring, where emphasis is on the process (activities) and results (outputs) ,evaluation is used to provide insight into the relationship between results output. (for example improved the strengthened capacity of an organization) , outcomes
(for example improved living conditions for the ultimate target group).
THE RESULT CHAIN IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT
The results chain is a description of the various stages of an intervention that lead to the changes that are intended – from the inputs at the start, to the end effects at a societal level for the beneficiaries
The first three links in the chain are under the control of the implementer and present no major issues for monitoring and quality management.
(a) Inputs: Funding, staff, vehicles, etc. Easily monitored administrative, accounting and audit procedures.
(b) Activities: What the intervention does. Easy to monitor standard record keeping of activities.
(c) Outputs: Anything that we make, do or buy as a result of inputs and activities. The output of landmine clearance is safe land, the output of a training session is people with more skills and knowledge, the output of risk education is people with more knowledge about safe behaviour. Outputs are often straightforward for monitoring and QM. The last three links of the chain are what the donor, implementer and/or beneficiaries want to achieve. They are less and less under the control of the implementer as we move along the chain, and more difficult for monitoring and quality management. These results links are all based on behavior change where the definition of “behavior” also includes attitudes and decision making.
(d) Immediate outcomes: Behavior changes people other than the donor and implementer, usually a direct result of the outputs. Usually behaviour change people who are stakeholders. The outcome of landmine clearance is when cleared land is used productively (a behavior change from avoiding the land due to mines to making use of the land), the outcome of training is when people who have been trained start to use their new skills and knowledge, the outcome of risk education is when people demonstrate reduced risk
behavior in their everyday lives.
(e) Medium-term outcomes or intermediate outcomes: Downstream behavior changes people who have little or no direct involvement in the intervention. Measurement and QM of medium-term outcomes can present challenges. One medium-term outcome of land that has
been cleared of mines and then used for agriculture is increased food supply within the community. People not directly involved in the project may benefit if there is more food available in the local marketplace. A medium-term outcome of training people how to develop
better plans is when the better plans are adopted and implemented, a medium-term outcome of risk education is when people who did not attend the sessions adopt safe behavior because they see and learn from the safe behavior of friends, neighbours and family members who
(f) Impacts: Usually defined as societal-level changes (rather than individual changes) that eventually result from an intervention, and can include both direct and indirect effects as well as both positive and negative effects (this is a very similar definition to the way “impacts” is defined in evaluation criteria). Improved nutritional status of children in a village may be the long-term result of clearing mines from farmland, this improvement may happen more quickly if more people get their land cleared sooner due to the impact of better planning. Measuring impacts is difficult, and requires a long-term commitment beyond the end of the project for the effects to be realized. Very few interventions make any real provision to continue learning after the end of a project and instead it is common to incorrectly label a few immediate outcomes as impacts in order to supply data. Impacts frequently fall into four broad categories: health (including nutrition, etc.), wealth (economic benefits of any type), wellbeing (social, educational, emotional) and compliance with legal or political commitments (e.g. a national poverty reduction strategy).