Perceptions and practices of monitoring and evaluation: international NGO experiences in Ethiopia

This article explores attempts by eight UK-based international NGOs currently engaged in rural development interventions in Ethiopia, to employ monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems as a means of strengthening accountability and institutional learning. Premised on the conviction that such NGOs comprise loose coalitions of interest groups at different organisational levels within them, the study explores how respondents in head offices, Addis Ababa, and field offices perceived and practised M&E. It was found that perceptions of M&E vary considerably between hierarchical levels and can have a significant impact on practice. Such perceptions are also framed by individual interests and thus frequently fail to reflect the reality of M&E practice. The story that unfolds offers valuable insights into the current myths and realities of M&E among INGOs.