Learning from Change: Issues and Experiences in Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation

Learning from Change: Issues and Experiences in Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation

Learning from Change: Issues and Experiences in Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation

Learning from Change: Issues and Experiences in Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation


Learning from Change provides an overview of the common themes and experiences in participatory approaches to monitoring and evaluation across different institutions and sectors. It is a compilation of selected case studies and discussions between practitioners, academics, donors, and policymakers in participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E).

It explores conceptual, methodological, institutional, and policy issues that need to be addressed to enrich our understanding and practice of PM&E. The book is in three sections. The first provides a general overview of PM&E, synthesizing literature surveys and regional reviews of PM&E practice around the world. The second presents case studies that illustrate the diverse range of settings and contexts in which PM&E is being applied. The third raises the key issues and challenges arising from the case studies and discussions, and proposes areas for future research and action.

Learning from Change will be an important reference for development professionals worldwide as well as for anyone interested in the process of participatory development, including researchers, academics, fieldworkers, development practitioners, and policymakers.


As we embark on the twenty-first century, the words accountability, decentralization, democracy, diversity, ownership, participation and transparency are as common in development rhetoric as they are contravened in practice. Learning from Change shows how participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) has the potential to make the rhetoric real. It establishes PM&E as one of the great remaining frontiers and challenges in development, with implications for learning and change which are at once methodological, institutional and personal.

Bringing together and analysing as it does varied experiences of innovators in South and North America, Africa and Asia, this book is a landmark. Its balanced, reflective and critical style cannot suppress the excitement. the discoveries of practitioners in different continents converge to suggest that where PM&E spreads and is sustained, much else can come to change: in the project cycle and activities; in the cultures and procedures of organizations; in professional norms and practices; in interpersonal relationships; and in gains to poor people. We have here seeds of a revolution in the theory and practice of development, with PM&E as both catalyst and clincher in reversing relationships of power, transforming institutions, and enhancing learning and adapting by stakeholders at all levels.

Learning from Change should be read by all development professionals, whether government officials, donors, academics, or others in civil society, who are concerned with improving performance to benefit the poor and powerless. It should inspire them to support pioneers of PM&E and to explore the potentials themselves. Those who ignore the themes and lessons of this book may be secure in their careers in the short term; and those in their fifties may even survive to a safe retirement. But they will be also be losers. For they will have missed not just the risks, but also the exhilaration and fulfilments of surfing a wave of the future.

Robert Chambers August 2000

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