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

Border Clash Between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Risks Spinning Out of Control

Border Clash Between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Risks Spinning Out of Control

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

By: Gavin Helf, Ph.D.

A dispute over irrigation water triggered a clash between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan last week that quickly spread along the border, resulting in the death of more than 40 people and displacing 30,000 on the Kyrgyz side — the worst such incident in the region since the collapse of the Soviet Union. While such flare-ups, albeit less deadly, are a regular occurrence in the region, this time the situation could get out of hand as the leaders of both countries are incentivized to stoke a crisis that distracts from the domestic unrest caused by their mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Iran Nuclear Talks Open a Window for Broader Middle East Security

Iran Nuclear Talks Open a Window for Broader Middle East Security

Thursday, April 29, 2021

By: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

Since the end of World War II, there have been several attempts that ultimately failed to establish a regional security framework in the Middle East. These attempts have historically fallen short, undermined by distrust, power politics and conflict. Today, a new window of opportunity may be emerging to establish a stable, broadly accepted mechanism for deescalating conflicts, setting norms and building confidence and cooperation between states in the region. World powers should consider the ongoing Vienna talks — aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal that the Trump administration withdrew from — the first step in this direction. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Sidestepping Great Power Rivalry: U.S.-China Competition in Africa

Sidestepping Great Power Rivalry: U.S.-China Competition in Africa

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.; Thomas P. Sheehy

If the early months of the Biden administration are any indication, the U.S.-China rivalry shows no signs of dimming anytime soon. Initial meetings between top Biden administration and Chinese officials in March were heated and appear to have done little to reduce tensions over many divisive issues. There is growing bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress for “hardline” policies against Beijing. Meanwhile, China is increasingly active worldwide, including in Africa, where its expanding presence is concerning to the United States.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

Russia Pulls Back Troops—But Not Its Threat to Ukraine

Russia Pulls Back Troops—But Not Its Threat to Ukraine

Monday, April 26, 2021

By: Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.

Russian ships and trains are moving back the tens of thousands of troops massed on Ukraine’s border because, Russia’s defense minister said last week, their “surprise inspection” had “demonstrated their ability to ensure the reliable defense of the country.” In reality, the Kremlin stood down after its saber-rattling failed to unnerve the Ukrainians—and after President Biden warned President Vladimir Putin directly to drop the military threat, effectively...

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

View All Publications