Dealing with complexity through Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation (PME)
discussion paper
van Ongevalle, J.
Maarse, A.
Temmink, C.
Boutylkova, E.
Huyse, H.

This paper shares the first results of an ongoing collaborative action research in which ten development organisations explored different Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) approaches with the aim of dealing more effectively with complex processes of social change. There are four reasons why we think this paper may be of interest: 1) The paper illustrates a practical example of action research whereby the organisations themselves are becoming the researchers. 2) Unpacking the main characteristics of complexity, the paper uses an analytic framework of four questions to assess the effectiveness of a PME approach in dealing with complex social change. 3) An overview is given of how various organisations implemented different PME approaches (e.g. outcome mapping, most significant change, client satisfaction instruments) in order to deal with complex change. 4) The paper outlines the meaning and the importance of a balanced PME approach, including its agenda, its underlying principles and values, its methods and tools and the way it is implemented in a particular context.

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