One key area of evolving has been in the collection and sharing of data – the numbers and the stories. Who we are impacting, how are we doing it, where are the dollars going, what are the real changes in the lives of people… these questions must be answered for MAP and for you. MAP, like many other NGOs, is working to constantly improve the way we collect data in the field through improving our internal and external monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process. This process is based on establishing expected impacts and outcomes with clear and measurable indicators of success and well planned activities that set us up to accomplish our goals within a given time frame.
Whenever possible, we like to put the pencil in the hand of the community – to let the community decide what are the most relevant indicators for their successes. Through this we can see an increase in the capacity of local leaders to take ownership of different health programs, to observe first hand positive changes and to build the strength to maintain healthy conditions long after MAP is no longer in a community.
This M&E process is important for NGOs, communities and donors to understand. It helps to build a framework for addressing the most critical health concerns in an area or community and lays the pathway to accomplish collaborative goals. In the field, M&E tools are the handbook for success. They are our guide to measure where we are, where we want to be and how we get there.