It is now more important than ever for practitioners working in fragile and conflict affected environments to justify the relevance and effectiveness of their programs to achieve a desired social change, particularly when resources are limited.

Generation Change program in Kenya. Photo courtesy of USIP.
Generation Change program in Kenya. Photo courtesy of USIP.

Course Overview

This course presents an overview of essential principles in design, monitoring, and evaluation practice that enables peacebuilding professionals to successfully apply new skills to implement more effective projects that produce measurable results. If projects are designed well at the beginning, the monitoring and evaluation tools will be more effective to gather necessary data to ensure they are on target towards the intended outcomes and impact. This helps ensure that risks to stakeholders are minimized, outcomes are clearly measured to maximize program impact, work is contributing to the knowledge base of the field, and that limited resources are being used efficiently.

Note: This course is not for monitoring and evaluation professionals, but rather for individuals who manage projects and programs. It was designed and developed in partnership between USIP and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

Learning Objectives

After taking this course, participants will be able to:

  • Design effective programs in fragile and conflict prone environments;
  • Articulate a theory of change to reveal and test underlying assumptions in a program;
  • Design and implement a results framework to track a program’s intended outcomes and impacts;
  • Determine relevant data collection methods in fragile environments;
  • Understand the essentials of evaluation design.

Agenda

Chapter 1 - Introduction to DM&E

This chapter examines the critical role that DM&E plays in the work of peacebuilding, security, and development. It addresses the unique challenges of designing, implementing, and evaluating programs in fragile and complex environments and the role of evidence-based decision making to ensure programs achieve their intended outcomes. This chapter also describes the integral role of design that enables effective monitoring and evaluation. Finally, project cycle management is introduced as a practical tool to integrate design, implement, and evaluation.

Chapter 2 - Program Design & Theories of Change

This chapter addresses the foundations of strong project design to enable effective monitoring and evaluation. The results-based management framework is introduced to help you design towards outcomes and impacts. The chapter then discusses the role of strategic planning and the need to adaptive to specific contexts. Project cycle management is introduced as a tool to effectively integrate design, implement, and evaluation. Finally, this chapter provides practical tools to map underlying problems and causes of a program, and to identify potential solutions for maximum impact.

Chapter 3 - Designing a Results Framework

This chapter introduces the results framework as a tool to implement results-based management into DM&E practice. It outlines the four basic building blocks of the results framework (outcomes, baselines, indicators, and targets) and challenges students to apply it as an initial evaluative framework. The role of monitoring is introduced as a means to track progress towards a program’s intended outcomes and impacts.

Chapter 4 - Designing an Evaluation

This chapter conveys the foundational knowledge and skills to practically design an effective evaluation. It examines the three different types of evaluation questions and describes potential sources of questions that can feed into the evaluation design process. This chapter also explains the three different types of evaluation design: experimental, quasi-experimental; and non-experimental.

Chapter 5 - Data Collection Methods

This chapter describes different ways to collect information and data as part of the monitoring and evaluation process. The two different types of data are introduced, as well as the most commonly used data collection tools that are best suited for fragile environments. This chapter examines essential considerations when trying to decide which methods to implement: interviews, surveys, focus groups, observation, and existing data. Participants are challenged to evaluate the methods which are most appropriate for different contexts.

Chapter 6 - DM&E in Complex Environments & Practical Tips

This chapter focuses on the different contexts in which we work and how they impact the implementation of DM&E in practice. It introduces the concept of “complexity” and the associated challenges of conducting DM&E in difficult, fluid, and fragile environments. This chapter addresses institutional factors which also impacts the success of DM&E projects. Institutional “line of sight”, in particular, helps participants conceptualize how individual programs contribute to broader institutional goals. This chapter concludes the course by offering practical tips to strengthen and integrate DM&E practice into their own institutions.

Instructors

  • Andy Blum, Executive Director, Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego
  • Caty Clement, Associate Fellow, Global Fellowship Initiative, Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Ray Rist, Co-Creator and Co-Director of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET), former President of IDEAS.

Related Publications

The Need to Build on Security Gains in Mozambique

The Need to Build on Security Gains in Mozambique

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

By: Thomas P. Sheehy

The Rwandan armed forces and police deployed to the Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique have made impressive gains combatting the Islamic State-affiliated al-Shabaab militants that have devastated the area. These 1,000 or so forces secured the key port city of Mocimboa da Praia in August, and the militants — who have committed grave atrocities, killed thousands and driven nearly a million people from their homes — have been forced to retreat from several areas of this natural resource-rich region. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Violent Extremism

Making Sense of North Korea’s Missile Test

Making Sense of North Korea’s Missile Test

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

By: Frank Aum

North Korea announced on September 13 that it had tested long-range cruise missiles over the weekend. It described the missiles as a “strategic weapon of great significance.” The test caused alarm in North Korea’s neighbors — South Korea and Japan, both U.S. allies — as the revelation now puts both countries within striking distance. But despite the test, a spokesperson for the Biden administration said the United States remains prepared to engage with North Korea. USIP’s Frank Aum discusses the significance of the tests, the arms race on the Korean Peninsula, and what signals North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be sending to the United States with this latest test. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Thai Authorities Struggle to Understand a Conflict They Have Been Fighting for Decades

Thai Authorities Struggle to Understand a Conflict They Have Been Fighting for Decades

Monday, September 13, 2021

By: Don Pathan

In May 2021, Thai security forces were in a three-hour standoff with two Malay-Muslim separatist insurgents in a small remote village in the southernmost border province of Yala. As they stood their ground, the two combatants made video calls to family and friends to bid farewell. Someone began recording one of the calls on another cellphone. Soon, footage of the two men, who were killed in the operation, was circulating on social media. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Six Alternative Ways to Measure Peace in Nigeria

Six Alternative Ways to Measure Peace in Nigeria

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

By: Yagana Bukar; Aly Verjee; Chris Kwaja

When measured by the death toll, Nigeria seems beset by violence. By some accounts, the COVID-19 pandemic has made experiences of violence even more common — notably, Nigeria recorded a 169% increase in abductions between 2019 and 2020. While quantifying violence is relatively straightforward, defining what peace means to ordinary Nigerians has been largely overlooked, even if such definitions may be more meaningful. By exploring more nuanced understandings of peace, how these vary between and across communities, and finding which indicators of peace are most valued, peace might be better pursued. We went in search of how people in the states of Bauchi, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau define peace. Here are six of our most important findings.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Fragility & Resilience

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