Phase 2

Step 2.06 , Monitoring and Evaluation


Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is undertaken to observe, record, compare, track, discover and adaptively manage the projects we are implementing.

Key Ideas

While there is significant potential for Water Funds to provide benefits to investors, communities, and nature, these benefits are not guaranteed by the creation of a Water Fund. Clear goals and monitoring data are the foundation through which science-based, sound investments are made and validated. The project proposed under your WF Strategic Plan should have clear measures as part of larger M&E Plan. Learn more below.

  • A qualified expert should be retained

    Qualified experts should be retained for defining monitoring needs and developing a M&E plan in all scenarios.
  • What is Monitoring and Evaluation?

    Monitoring and Evaluation is the act of systematically collecting information about something over time and space to characterize its state and to identify changes.
  • What is a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan?

    A Monitoring and Evaluation Plan details the rationale, strategies, and costs for monitoring and evaluating the various projects being implemented by a Water Fund, and then links those to learning activities that will help managers to adaptively manage those projects. Several excellent Monitoring and Evaluation Plans from existing Water Funds are showcased below.
  • Monitoring and evaluation requires a broad range of expertise

    Monitoring requires expertise in not only the methods for designing scientifically-robust monitoring programs, but also in the various instruments, techniques and software needed to properly collect, manage, assess, data and communicate results.
  • There are many types of monitoring

    The online Water Funds training provides background on a few basic monitoring approaches for Water Funds: (1) reconnaissance monitoring, (2) implementation monitoring, (3) trend monitoring (note: while they often overlap in their purposes, trend monitoring is not always implemented for the purposes of monitoring impacts [impact monitoring]. The training focuses on implementation and impact monitoring.
  • Monitoring for Water Funds is typically not focused on research

    Impact monitoring should focus on measurable results rather than the ecological mechanisms underlying results. This latter aspect of monitoring is often a focus of research scientists, but is not typically a priority for Water Fund monitoring, which is more focused on the outcomes desired by investors and participating communities (though this type of monitoring may be conducted if there is need, capacity and interest to do so). As such, given limited funding and capacities, it is critical to focus impact monitoring to assess changes resulting from activities to capture the most relevant information and conduct the right kind of analysis. Note that a successful monitoring program is not necessarily one that collects a lot of information, but one that requires that the right kind of information is efficiently and effectively gathered and analyzed to address management needs and judge progress toward meeting short and long-term Water Fund goals.
  • What are the basic types of monitoring that are used for Water Funds?

    Paulo Petry from The Nature Conservancy describes basic monitoring approaches being deployed by Water Funds.

  • What types of monitoring are being implemented?

    Jonathan Higgins from The Nature Conservancy shares a few examples of how WFs are currently monitoring and evaluating projects.

  • Why is linking monitoring results to decision-making important?

    Jorge Sarmiento Léon from The Nature Conservancy describes the role of monitoring in decision-making.

Learn more: why is it important to monitor and evaluate Water Fund projects?

  • To track scope and efficiency of implementation of interventions and adaptively manage projects

    We monitor Water Funds to observe, record, compare, track, discover, and adaptively manage the projects we are implementing (often referred to as Implementation Monitoring). You may learn new ideas without monitoring, but cannot monitor without learning.

  • Test effectiveness of interventions

    Alongside the implementation of pilot projects, monitoring is critical for testing the effectiveness of interventions through approaches such as edge of field monitoring.

  • To measure progress towards goals

    We monitor Water Funds to achieve our goals / outcomes (often referred to as Impact Monitoring). Clear goals and monitoring data are the foundation through which science-based, sound investments are made and validated.

  • To establish credibility and transparency with key stakeholders

    Financial supporters require regular reports on returns of investment and progress, participating communities require evidence of the proposed benefits, and Water Fund managers require information to strengthen models and adapt management practices to changing environmental and socioeconomic conditions. Accordingly, robust monitoring programs are essential for validating that a given Water Fund is generating the environmental, economic, and social impacts it was designed to produce and to identify challenges and adapt the approach to address them.

Experimental design is a critical aspect of building the case for why specific WF interventions matter. Learn more about 8 common types of experimental design.

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