Using community indicators for evaluating research and development programmes: experiences from Malawi

Evaluations involving stakeholders include collaborative evaluation, participatory evaluation, development evaluation, and empowerment evaluation - distinguished by the degree and depth of involvement of local stakeholders or programme participants in the evaluation process. In community participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E), communities agree programme objectives and develop local indicators for tracking and evaluating change. PM&E is not without limitations, one being that community indicators are highly specific and localised, which limits wide application of common community indicators for evaluating programmes that span social and geographic space. We developed community indicators with six farming communities in Malawi to evaluate a community development project. To apply the indicators across the six communities, we aggregated them and used a Likert scale and scores to assess communities' perceptions of the extent to which the project had achieved its objectives. We analysed the data using a comparison of means to compare indicators across communities and by gender. pp 633-642