The International Law Institute (ILI) will offer a seminar on Project Monitoring and Evaluation in Washington, D.C., from September 25 to October 6, 2017. The primary focus will be on effective project monitoring and evaluation, but additional relevant topics will also be covered within the program.

Danielle de García, course advisor for the seminar, highlights a “well defined theory of change” as the starting point and key component of any project or task.

What this means is that one must define intended results prior to implementation, while also tracking its impact. It is not enough to simply achieve a goal; one should also strive to do so efficiently. Ms. de García outlines the basic steps of monitoring and evaluation as being:

  1. Make sure the model used is based on sound causal logic and data.
  2. Decide how the results of the project will be measured. This usually involves coming up with indicators, definitions, and data collection methods.
  3. Measure the data, either by monitoring (continual data collection, using a performance management plan or something similar) or evaluation (noting certain points in time and answering specific research questions). Monitoring reveals what is happening with respect to intended outcomes. On the other hand, evaluation explains why or how changes are or are not occurring. Both have their merits despite serving different purposes.
  4. Analyze the data.
  5. Use the information gathered to inform decision-making. This is the most important of all the steps.


According to Ms. de García, monitoring and evaluation are of particular significance now partly because many organizations are struggling with financial cuts and want to better invest their resources. Whereas previously the field relied heavily on quantitative or qualitative data, the thinking has evolved into a more holistic approach. “Often, monitoring and evaluation refer to helping promote both learning and accountability – and the learning side is gaining momentum,” she says. This places a greater emphasis on adaptive and flexible monitoring and evaluation systems, which can even work in complex or volatile environments.

Although the roles of monitoring and evaluation are distinct, both processes have users and uses. The extent to which they affect decision-making is largely dependent upon organizational culture, among other factors.

Ms. de García identifies monitoring and evaluation as being a crucial parts of project management. They are not the same, but they are interconnected aspects of any project. Monitoring and evaluation assist in overall project design, financial oversight, and stakeholder communication.

If participants could only take away one thing from this seminar, Ms. de García hopes that it will be practical skills that they may immediately apply in setting their personal, project, or organizational-level goals and in measuring their progress. The understanding she wishes to communicate is that monitoring and evaluation are driven by stakeholders’ needs, and that there are concrete ways of meeting them.

Danielle de García is the Director of Performance Evaluation, Innovation, and Learning at Social Impact. Her expertise lies in monitoring and evaluation, organizational capacity building, project management, and participatory methodologies. The breadth of her experience extends to Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and she has provided technical consultancies to a variety of local, national, and international organizations.

As she has facilitated the ILI’s Project Monitoring and Evaluation seminar in the past, she noted some improvements that have been made to curriculum.

“We’ve changed the course a bit over time to ensure that there is a more logical flow to the information; and that a variety of fields are represented. We’ve also added more practical information and sessions which are aimed at showing how different organizations apply the same concepts. We have a variety of exercises based on each participant’s individual projects, so that they now leave with a strong understanding of how each concept applies to their own work,” she says.


By Surovi Bain

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