Performance measurement

Performance measurement includes both monitoring and evaluation. Both processes rely on documentation. This webpage provides guidance on all three elements and includes links to a range of sample materials for collecting and analyzing results.

Documentation

Documentation refers to all data, reports and other materials that enable activities and results to be tracked and assessed. Much of the documentation required will be produced in the course of planning and implementing the programme. These include:
  • Membership and terms of reference of local advisory and other committees
  • Records of stakeholder and community meetings
  • Results of economic opportunities and needs surveys;
  • Feasibility studies;
  • Participant (beneficiary) records;
  • Training course reports;
  • Post-training follow-up reports.
The programme may keep other reports and records as part of the documentation. This may include regular progress reports to donors or government agencies, monitoring reports and any mid-point evaluations, as well as documentation of actions taken to adjust the program as required.

Accurate financial and human resource records should also be maintained and form part of monitoring and reporting

Monitoring

A framework for monitoring is established at the outset of the project. It establishes what will be monitored, in what form, how and to whom it is reported. There may be a number of different monitoring plans: for example, an annual progress report to a national guiding body in the country, quarterly budget reports to a donor, etc. Where possible, monitoring information and reports should have multiple uses to reduce time and duplication. For example, quarterly budget reports prepared for a donor can be rolled up to form an annual report to a steering committee. Monitoring should focus on a smaller number of important indicators that give the information required.

Different audiences require different types and level of detail in monitoring information.
  • Local project management requires accurate and immediate information on all activities, budgets, etc. to ensure the programme is proceeding as planned and that any issues are identified and addressed.
  • Delivery partners are both providers of information (and their performance is monitored through this) and recipients (so they can coordinate their activities appropriately)
  • Local advisory committees and stakeholders required higher-level information on the project's progress and specific issues in which they are interested (for example, low enrolment rates among beneficiaries would be important information to share)
  • ILO management, donors and national level partners require regular, higher-level information on project progress, usually aligned with specific project targets and expenditure plans. This often takes the form of an annual report and meeting, scheduled as required by donors/national partners.
The objective of monitoring is to determine if a project is proceeding according to plan, and to provide enough information to identify areas where adjustment is needed. Financial, operational and human resource monitoring is also required to ensure that resources are being used appropriately and that employees of the project and of any implementation partners are maintaining standards of conduct. Mechanisms for "whistleblowing" or complaints may be included as part of monitoring practice to ensure accountability.

While monitoring generally refers to data collection and reporting during the operation of a project, TREE requires that beneficiaries are tracked for a period following the end of their direct involvement with the project. These “tracer studies” will form part of the final evaluation of a project, but must be established as part of the monitoring plan and their requirements in terms of data collection included in the documentation.

Evaluation

Evaluation is a critical means to improve decision-making, generate knowledge in the organization and provide verifiable evidence of relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, and sustainability. An evaluation provides a performance assessment of a particular intervention, focusing on what works, what does not work, and why this is the case. All planned and completed evaluations of ILO interventions, in addition to their related summaries, lessons learned, good practices, recommendations and management responses are made publicly available on i-eval Discovery

ILO’s requirements for evaluation may be augmented by additional requirements from donors or national partners. Planning and budgeting for evaluation is an important part of the design of a TREE project. Some of the questions that may be asked in a TREE evaluation include:

  • Was the quality of the training up to the desired standard?
  • Were the courses delivered as planned and what were the number of dropouts and graduates?
  • Did the training achieve gender parity and if not why?
  • Did the graduates readily start-up businesses/find employment in the area in which they were trained?
  • How were their incomes improved? Were they able to sustain the improvement?
  • Did the project have broader impacts on the community in terms of:
    • Social cohesion
    • Improved access to education or health services
    • Greater empowerment or voice for disadvantaged persons?
  • Will the cost of this type of rural training allow the programme to be repeated in other regions? Should the course be replicated?
An example of a community-wide impact assessment of a TREE project in Zimbabwe is available

Evaluations will be completed by the TREE team or external evaluators, depending on the size and type of evaluation. A number of materials to aid in evaluation have been developed in TREE projects and may be useful.