21st October 2021
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This article is based on the assumption that funders, donors and policy makers want their projects and programmes to reach target audience, make impact and be monitored effectively. We do not need to debate about what type of methodologies work and why. The key challenge is to find out who is getting what as quickly as possible. To have maximum impact, this needs to be done rigorously and in a timely fashion. All actors working in the development sector should be committed to the principle of public accountability, and willing to take the risks inherent in asking sensitive questions about how public funds are used.

For example, Schools may have been built, but lack teachers or books. The schools built for the out-of-school children in some states in the northern part of Nigeria are reportedly empty of pupils or teachers. Clinics may be open, but staff may be abusive or absent. This process involves surveying non-beneficiaries too, to find out which groups may have been excluded.

Read: Tips to Run an Effective NGO Sensitisation Campaign

The following outlines why local civil society organisations should monitor programmes/projects:  

  • Independent Monitoring and Evaluation requires building human resource capacity especially field researchers which is not necessarily a large investment. As more local civil society organisations get involved in the process, they build technical capacity which can be transferred to other areas of work. For example, it could strengthen civil society’s capacity to hold governments accountable for policy decisions
  • Independent Monitoring and Evaluation initiatives can cross-check official data with field evidence or by direct consultation with beneficiaries of a particular programme. This makes it possible to provide feedback to decision-makers and stakeholders regarding what kinds of programmes work and why they work. It is also necessary to hold implementers of projects accountable for programmes that do not work, and it is therefore an essential component of good governance.
  • In international development, funds that flow in systematically must include M&E so they know the destination and impact of their funds. If they don’t have this form of system, they will be relying on information that comes from vested interests and local elites that could capture programmes.
  • It has the possibility of generating accurate and reliable analysis of programmes from bottom-up. The information gathered must be made public and released to key stakeholders both the beneficiaries and the donors. This form of transparency improves accountability in programmes and projects.


Fox, J., 1997. Transparency for accountability: Civil-society monitoring of multilateral development bank anti-poverty projects. Development in Practice7(2), pp.167-172.

Ides Ofune

Ides Ofune is currently a PhD Student at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on civil society and accountability in improving the quality of education. She is the founder of Desert Bloom Initiative and editor of Desert Bloom Advisory. Ides is very passionate about education and creating an inclusive society. She speaks French and English fluently. She can be reached at info@desertbloomadvisory.com