To identify the leading frameworks for M&E in the global health arena, and to help philanthropists make use of these frameworks in health and other issue domains.
Both public and private sector grant-makers seeking social impact face the same challenge: to design the evaluation method that best informs the decisions they will need to take.
Funders often seek to gather as much data as possible and to analyze that data in search of evidence of impact. This approach can lead to expensive evaluations and can place a heavy burden on the grantees that must gather data. Yet the profusion of data produced often fails to supply decision-makers with the information they need in the timeframe that it is required.
But when funders design an M&E system that assembles data from the ground up that is most relevant to the choices they must take, the system is more likely to be used and used to good effect. This approach of decision-based evaluation will be the one explored by the Aspen Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation’s (PSI) Last Mile Workshops.
This workshop convened public and private sector leaders from the global health sector. The primary goal of this session was to “rewind the tape” on the progress made toward decision-based evaluation and to document that process for future use by others – differentiating between those aspects of the process that can be applied to other issue domains and those that cannot.
Participants in this workshop emerged with the following points of consensus:
- Monitoring and evaluation must be of use and the findings “actionable”;
- For M&E, too, the benefits must outweigh the costs;
- Differences in terminology, culture and local practice color M&E in significant ways; consulting grantees early on helps to address these challenges.
- M&E plays at least two quite different but equally-important roles: accountability and learning. Both should inform design;
- Good metrics are no substitute for good judgment;
- The need for better communication around these emerging best practices in M&E is urgent;
- The opportunity to teach is large, improving the field more broadly.
(Details on these points are included in the post-meeting report linked on this page)