Emma Nthandose Gausi

Emma Nthandose Gausi

Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist
International Potato Center

My contributions

    • This is an interesting discussion. I think most of times when designing M&E systems we fail to reflect on how the monitoring and evaluation process would benefit the whole spectrum of stakeholders of an intervention especially the farmers.. In most projects/programs the M&E process has been relegated to a data collection and processing ONLY activity. And this data/information is also always done to satisfy donor requirements. Learning in M&E should be prioritised throughout the project cycle. There is usually little or no "M&E" of the M&E systems in our interventions that would help us understand if they are effective. I have seen a few farmer evaluations where farmers were involved in some M&E activities for learning purposes. But mostly, the farmers do not value it because its an imposed activity. They do not understand what and why they are doing the process as it feels like its being imposed on them. 

    • Dear all

      Let me share my experiences from my own M&E assessments.

      When designing questionniares it is important to already think through the culture and farmer requirements. For example if its in rainy season, the farmers will usually be very busy with farm work. It is best to have an initial visit to plan with them in advance. This is where you go through a farmer representative to do the planning.

      If survey targets women allow them to bring their toddler also make sure its not schedule around the lunch hours

      When conduct focus group discussion its better to meet them at their usual meeting hours than requesting for an extra ordinary meeting.

      The questionniare should be as concise as possible.

      Administer the questionniare in their local language. This saves on translation time.

      Explain to the farmer the purpose and expected result as well as expected time of the interview and seek consent for the interview.

      If they are focus group discussion ensure that they use alot of participatory methods other than just questions

      If its field based activities, ensure that the farmer takes part in other activities such field measuring. It motivates them.

       Train the enumerators. Let them understand the meaning if each to avoid redundancy

      On incentives, we always try to provide the respondents a drink


    • Dear members,

      I raised the discussion topic "The farmer as a key participant of M&E: lessons and experiences from Participatory M&E systems" and would like to thank you all for your contributions. I have learnt a lot from your experiences.

      Below is a summary of the discussion.

      • Participation of farmers in M&E activities helps in ensuring project effectiveness and relevance and quality of project deliverables. When beneficiary farmers generate project data, they take full ownership of the project achievements.
      • Participatory M&E requires understanding what farmers already do in the context of their activities in order to avoid overloading them with extra work. It is necessary to develop farmers’ capacities and raise their awareness on the data collection activities and on the purposes of the project.
      • Farmers participation may be replaced by good field observation. Google earth and other satellite imagery provide high enough resolution imagery of project areas to easily plot where target crops are produced, measure the hectare involved and sum that up get percent of acceptance.
      • Challenges to consider when involving farmers in data collection and feedback include: i) Literacy levels can impede full participation; ii) young women involved often leave their communities of origin due to marriage; iii) sampling of participants may not be easy and it can be difficult to justify that the finding represent the community where the project was implemented; iv) famers’ feedback may be influenced by influential people in the community. This may require sensible managementand facilitation; v) agriculture innovations may take time to be effective, beyond the timing of the project cycle.
      • Different levels of participatory processes in agriculture projects may be identified: 1) Deep engagement: involve farmers in all or most of the project cycle; 2) Medium or opportunistic approach: farmers are invited just before or after the initiation of project –  probably the most common; 3) Low engagement: technocrats prepared the M & E and share with farmers to provide their feedback on their already prepared M & E strategy plan.
      • In general, the notion of participation acquires different connotations in various contexts and the practice of evaluation does not always reflect this participatory “vocation”. Many times programs and projects aimed at stimulating participation become a symbolic simulation, particularly when they are unaware of the reality of redistribution of power that involves encouraging a participatory process.
      • Methods used in participatory M&E and Evaluation include:
        • KoBo for collection of quantitative data and Dictaphones for collection of qualitative data
        • Outcome Harvesting: this method places the beneficiary at the centre to provide relevant quantitative and qualitative data and information on how the project is changing or contributing to changes in their livelihoods.
        • Resource mapping: can be used to understand how a project helped beneficiaries improve their life in comparing their previous experience.
        • Institutional mapping can help to understand stakeholders’ engagement in the community and is useful in the planning stage.
        • Venn diagrams useful for ‘agriculture market’ projects.
        • Seasonal calendars can provide very useful information for food security projects.
        • Community scorecards can be used to assess the performance (efficiency and effectiveness) of the project.
        • Change maps participatory technique: was used in the framework of the evaluation of the economic empowerment project that worked with female farmers in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia and allowed to turn data collection into a semi-structured discussion among female farmers about what changed in their lives as a result of the project and its worth and merit.

      Thank you for all these contributions.


      Emma Gausi

    • Thank you all for all the wonderful contributions on the topic. I have worked with projects where a ToC was drafted during programme conceptalisation and planning and i have worked with projects where there was no ToC. I have found that when there is no ToCs, project interventions tend to be more focussed getting the activities done other than on the change the intervention is expected to bring. In this case, it feels like doing the work without the vision. However with ToC present, change aspect of the intervention is much more pronounced and it affects the way things are done during project implementation. Logframes and results chanins are also more important. But they are much more useful when their design isalso informed by a ToC.