The role of M&E in programme planning and management for an international NGO

Start date: 20 July, 2015 End date: 22 August, 2015 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A27781 Countries: Burkina Faso Institutions: Roskilde University (RUC), Denmark Grant recipient: Stefanie Møllegaard Nielsen Total grant: 20,000 DKK



The Danish sponsor-based NGO BØRNEfonden’s M&E system is failing to deliver. This thesis explains the root causes of this failure by employing contemporary academic theories within the field of International Development Studies. Hence aiming to bridge academia and practical development. Based on several interviews with staff and a field study in the NGOs office in Burkina Faso the thesis finds three main root causes for the systems failure. Firstly, the use of the Logical Framework Approach simplifies the extremely complex reality of development work and makes the system unable to identify and handle hindering internal factors, i.e. misunderstandings and miscommunications among staff that are key for the system to function is a root cause of the systems failure. Secondly, BØRNEfonden reproduces the development discourse by the use of buzzwords, which in turn makes the organisation enable to neither discuss nor define the meaning of the words used in the M&E system. This is a root cause for the systems failure and that BØRNEfonden’s M&E Guiding principles falls into the category of being a good policy that appeals to donors and at the same time being unimplementable because it is impossible to operationalize for development practitioners. Thirdly, the prevalence of stereotypes are being used internally by staff to take away the blame for the M&E systems failure from the one who formulate the stereotype. This in turn reveals the stereotypes to be another root cause of the M&E systems failure as they are blurring the landscape of problems faced by the M&E system, thereby becoming not only a problem for the interactions between the staff that are vital for the system to work, but also makes it impossible to explore and uncover the underlying issues with the M&E system.