What Matters Most: Measuring Plans for Inclusive Security

   •    February 26, 2015

This post was written by Zsuzsanna Lippai, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, and Angelic Young, Senior Coordinator of National Action Plans.

In the video above, Inclusive Security’s Zsuzsanna Lippai and Angelic Young discuss why they created a guide to monitoring and evaluating national action plans on women, peace, and security

You may not realize it, but data runs your life. The feedback loop of information resulting from your actions constantly guides you, explicitly or not, to adapt future approaches. From interpersonal relationships—the way you interact with family and friends—to your on-the-job performance, your brain is continuously processing data about what goes well, what doesn’t, and how to be more effective next time. Without that information, our decision making can fall short. Mistakes may be repeated; successes may be forgotten.

Small surprise, then, that monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is essential to any project. The collection and analysis of data provides insight into progress and helps answer the question “What difference have we made?”

This is especially critical for national action plans (NAPs), which are complex policies that involve a wide range of actors both inside and outside government. Increasingly tight budgets mean that governments, international organizations, and civil society can’t afford to fund initiatives that fail to show results. We need data to know whether policies like NAPs are positively impacting the communities they strive to serve. To know what difference they’ve made—or haven’t.

Developing an M&E system is one of the most important things that implementers can do to lay the foundation for a high-impact NAP. Unfortunately, most plans lack an effective blueprint for gathering and examining data. To fill this gap, we created “What Matters Most: Measuring Plans for Inclusive Security.”

M&E Guide

This guide is structured to help people better understand how and why to use data to measure achievements. It explains why M&E is important, provides an overview of critical steps to building an M&E system, shares practical examples (including worksheets and other similar tools) to help facilitate outcome and indicator creation—it even includes an appendix full of sample indicators to help you get started.

We’ve shared this guide with our partners around the world, who tell us that it helps them better understand the basics of M&E, demystifying a heavily technical subject. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, for example, we used it to help set up M&E systems that enable leaders and civil society to collect compelling, comprehensive data that demonstrates the impact and importance of Bosnia’s NAP.

Ultimately, we created this resource to share a key message: monitoring and evaluation is more than an administrative exercise. It helps us showcase evidence of impact and identify those activities that work. Armed with this data, policymakers can craft better initiatives that more effectively and sustainably improve the lives of women, men, boys and girls around the world.

Visit our National Action Plan Resource Center for more information and tools.

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