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

Myanmar: China, the Coup and the Future

Myanmar: China, the Coup and the Future

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

By: Jason Tower; Priscilla A. Clapp

In making major deals with Myanmar’s military rulers, China seems to be violating its official guidance for investment abroad: Avoid conflict zones. Although Myanmar is in a state of collapse and widening rebellion, China continues to advance plans for a complex economic corridor in the country with the military unveiling steps to move ahead with big joint-venture projects. The generals’ bid to appear in control of things is obvious. China, on the other hand, seems to have fallen into a trap. Cozying up to the junta puts its investments at immediate and long-term risk and erodes its standing in regional organizations. To protect its interests, Beijing should press the junta to curb its rampant violence against the population and to restore the elected government.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Washington’s Allies and Partners Weigh in on U.S.-China Competition

Washington’s Allies and Partners Weigh in on U.S.-China Competition

Thursday, June 3, 2021

By: Patricia M. Kim

The Biden administration has adopted an overarching strategy of renewing relations with allies and partners to counter China where necessary, while also cooperating with Beijing when it is in the United States’ interest to so. As competition between Washington and Beijing heats up, however, avenues to resolve conflicts peacefully between the two major powers remain limited. A recent USIP report brought together U.S. and Chinese authors to offer recommendations on how the two powers can enhance strategic stability. But how do U.S. allies and partners factor in and what steps would they like Washington and Beijing to take to prevent conflict and manage crises? 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Understanding Organized Crime and Violence in Central Asia

Understanding Organized Crime and Violence in Central Asia

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

By: Lawrence P. Markowitz; Mariya Y. Omelicheva

The influence of organized crime on governance and the rule of law in Central Asia has long been recognized, but its role in violence is less broadly understood. Looking at conflicts in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan, this report examines the ways that organized criminal actors exploit popular mobilization (such as protests) and weaken state controls in episodes of violence. Recommendations for governments, international agencies, and civil society groups draw from expert interviews and research to address the range of organized criminal motives and circumstances.

Type: Special Report

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