by Sarah Parkinson
Evaluation and Program Planning Volume 32 Issue 3
Abstract: This paper examines the assumptions that commonly underpin the design of participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) within development programmes through the examination of a case study of a large rural development programme in Uganda. This case study reveals a mismatch between programme assumptions and participant perceptions, which stymied the implementation of PM&E. In this case, PM&E was based on the assumptions that programme and participant goals were compatible, participants were willing to volunteer and engage themselves for the greater good of their communities, and information sharing and communication was fairly free and open. However, farmers within the programme felt that the bureaucratic and accountability requirements of the programme were not their concern, and were acutely aware of power differences between farmers and programme officials, and between farmers of varying status. The key lesson to be drawn from this case is the need for a heightened awareness of power dynamics and political factors in the design of PM&E.