Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (PME&L)
As a professional organisation, LPI works systematically with a results-based tool for PME&L, specifically developed and tailor-made for its work in conflict transformation and capacity building.
While the development sector has for a long time relied on, for example, the logical framework approach for designing relevant and efficient interventions as well as measuring outcomes and impacts, the peacebuilding sector is still widely lacking such tools for PME&L. This is related to the nature of the work in the peacebuilding field. Conflicts are dynamic and demand flexible approaches; peacebuilding processes are long-term and involve many actors on different levels, making it difficult to attribute changes in the context to one specific actor or factor.
Nevertheless, the necessity and added value of developing planning, monitoring and evaluation practices has been acknowledged and tools and methodologies have started to be developed. One of the most hands-on tools to date was developed by Cheyenne Church and Mark Rogers at Search for Common Ground. While this provides a good basis it does not, however, capture the research or the capacity building aspects of our work in a concrete manner. Inspired by existing methods such as the logical framework approach, LPI has developed its own tool for PME&L.
Since 2007, LPI has been engaged in a process of developing methodologies and tools for ensuring the relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of its work. This has included a research project on impact assessment in peacebuilding, which in turn has informed the development of a more practical and hands-on tool for PME&L to be used in LPI’s conflict transformation programmes. This process has been encouraged and supported by SIDA.
The PME&L toolkit consists of a matrix (inspired by the Log Frame Approach, but extended) and is accompanied by a series of concept papers dealing with the major steps of the PME&L process: LPI’s approach to conflict transformation, conflict analysis, theories of change, the results chain, the development of indicators, the baseline study, monitoring as learning and evaluation as learning. This tool was tested by the field programmes during 2008 and has, since mid 2009, started to be applied in all of LPI’s programmes.
LPI sees the application of the tool as a learning process that in itself will include further refinement and adaptation of the tool to the various and changing contexts in which we work.
PME&L is important for our work on two levels:
- On the level of LPI: PME&L is an integrative part of all activities as it enables learning during project implementation, the monitoring of results achievement, evaluation, as well as the formulation of lessons learned that can be shared with stakeholders.
- On the level of partner organisations: LPI is accompanying its partners in their PME&L processes. This entails training staff using LPI’s PME&L toolkit as a basis, but adapting it to the needs of the partner organisations. Training takes the form of workshops and joint working sessions.
As a result of our work with PME&L, LPI is convinced that doing structured PME&L within peacebuilding/conflict transformation is possible and rewarding, even if it is hard and challenging at the same time. Throughout all stages of programme implementation the tool enables reflection and learning, as well as tracking changes and evaluating the programme’s work. The outcomes of the PME&L process also feed into the next planning phase of the programme.
LPI will continue to apply, but also to further develop and refine, our PME&L tool. In connection to PME&L, an effort will also be made to systematically improve organisational learning within LPI.