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Regularly monitor and evaluate project progress


Regularly monitor and evaluate project progress

Regularly monitor and evaluate project progress

Posted on August 22, 2019 by Karina de Souza

Authoring Organizations: Pacific Institute
Consulting Organizations: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Universal: No
Applicable Phases: Act
Last Updated May 22, 2024


Regular monitoring and progress evaluation is necessary to determine the final outcome of a project. This monitoring must occur during the project so that focal areas can be changed if necessary, as well as upon project completion to evaluate its impact.


Monitoring and evaluation establishes the efficacy of a project or program, especially in a partnership where multiple projects may be ongoing or planned. The monitoring and evaluation process can help partners correct their course if necessary. Evaluation also provides valuable information for prospective donors or partners wishing to invest in future projects.


Regular monitoring and evaluation should be conducted as part of the project management. Effective evaluation  requires data that is:

  • accurately gathered and recorded using agreed-upon methodology and tools
  • maintained using a transparent, accessible knowledge management system, such as newsletters, shared databases, WhatsApp, hydrological models, or ArcGIS tools for monitoring and mapping data
  • shared appropriately with relevant partners during the project for both internal and external communication purposes.

Consider monitoring diverse variables, such as:

  • hydrological or irrigation data to track water use for catchment management
  • meeting attendance
  • completed tasks and how they have contributed to the project objectives.

If a project faces resource constraints, consider alternative methods for data collection outside of the public sector mandate or the formal boundaries of the partnership. For instance, communities can contribute to data collection. Also known as “citizen science,” data collection by local communities can close field data gaps. Citizen scientists can gather water quality information, a vital indicator of river and groundwater catchment health. Citizen science has the twin advantages of providing vital data while educating the public, likely an important beneficiary on the benefits of the project. Engaging community members promotes the long-term sustainability of the project. However, employ a formal and verifiable process for community data collection to ensure data accuracy.


In Metsimaholo, South Africa, the partnership began by conducting a technical non-revenue water loss baseline study so that future interventions could be compared against this baseline. The baseline determined the extent, locations, and causes of water losses in the municipal reticulation system. The studies identified pump failures and high system pressures (resulting in leakages) as the cause of inconsistent water flow to consumers. Project interventions were then compared to the baseline to gauge their effectiveness. By establishing a baseline, then conducting accurate monitoring, the project partners made a strong business case for water security. The initiative attracted additional finance from the private sector.

In South Africa’s uMhlatuze catchment, the partnership has based their monitoring and evaluation with their theory of change. After considering many monitoring systems, partners selected one that incorporates input from diverse stakeholders. The system measures the increased security of water resources in the catchment, fulfilling the vision of the partnership.

Projects that have validated this Lesson

This partnership seeks to reduce water losses in Metsimaholo Local Municipality (LM), situated in the International Vaal/Orange-Senqu catchment. Actions include a baseline assessment to determine current losses, community outreach measures and leakage repair on bulk and household infrastructure. Project partners … Learn More

The uMhlathuze Water Stewardship Partnership (UWASP) is a river basin collaboration of business, government and civil society partners established to address water security challenges in the uMhlathuze region of South Africa. UWASP aims to play a transformative role in the … Learn More

This lesson learned reflects the beliefs and experiences of the author, not necessarily the Pacific Institute, CEO Water Mandate, or UN Global Compact.