Various trends are impacting on the field of monitoring and evaluation in the area of international development. Resources have become ever more scarce while expectations for what development assistance should achieve are growing. The search for more efficient systems to measure impact is on. Country governments are also working to improve their own capacities for evaluation, and demand is rising from national and community-based organizations for meaningful participation in the evaluation process as well as for greater voice and more accountability from both aid and development agencies and government.
These factors, in addition to greater competition for limited resources in the area of international development, are pushing donors, program participants and evaluators themselves to seek more rigorous – and at the same time flexible – systems to monitor and evaluate development and humanitarian interventions.
However, many current approaches to M&E are unable to address the changing structure of development assistance and the increasingly complex environment in which it operates. Operational challenges (for example, limited time, insufficient resources and poor data quality) as well as methodological challenges that impact on the quality and timeliness of evaluation exercises have yet to be fully overcome.