Participatory Monitoring & Evaluation (PM&E) is a process through which stakeholders at various levels engage in monitoring or evaluating a particular project, program or policy, share control over the content, the process and the results of the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activity and engage in taking or identifying corrective actions. PM&E focuses on the active engagement of primary stakeholders (WORLD BANK 2010a).
Traditionally, M&E has been implemented involving outside experts that come in to measure performance and process against pre-set indicators, through standardised procedures and tools. PM&E differs from more conventional approaches in that it seeks to engage key project stakeholders more actively in reflecting and assessing the progress of their project and in particular the achievement of results (THE WORLD BANK 2010a). Core principles of PM&E are (RIETBERGEN-McCRACKEN et al. 1998):
- Local beneficiaries/stakeholders are active participants — not mere sources of information.
- Beneficiaries/stakeholders themselves evaluate, outsiders facilitate.
- Focus on building the capacity for analysis and problem-solving of beneficiaries/stakeholders.
- The process builds commitment by the organization to implementing any recommended corrective actions.
- The process promotes ownership of initiative by beneficiaries/stakeholders.