A needs assessment is a systematic process for determining and addressing needs, or “gaps” between current conditions and desired conditions or “wants”. The discrepancy between the current condition and wanted condition must be measured to appropriately identify the need.
A baseline assessment is a study that is conducted at the beginning of a project or a programme, in order to analyze the current food security situation. It gives a picture of the situation before the inception of the programme, and results can then be compared with a follow-up assessment towards the end of the programme, in order to understand the effects that the programme has had on the target population (ie. assess impact).
Monitoring and evaluation are synergistic. Monitoring information is a necessary but not sufficient input to the conduct of rigorous evaluations. While monitoring information can be collected and used for ongoing management purposes, reliance on such information on its own can introduce distortions because it typically covers only certain dimensions of a project âs or programs activities, and careful use of this information is needed to avoid unintended behavioral incentives. In contrast, evaluation has the potential to provide a more balanced interpretation of performance. But evaluation is a more detailed and time-consuming activity, and because of its greater cost it needs to be conducted more sparingly. One approach is to rely on monitoring information to identify potential problem issues requiring more detailed investigation via an evaluation.
M&E can be conducted using a wide array of tools, methods and approaches. These include, for example: performance monitoring indicators; the logical framework; theory-based evaluation; formal surveys such as service delivery surveys, citizen report cards, living standards measurement surveys (LSMS) and core welfare indicators questionnaires (CWIQ); rapid appraisal methods such as key informant interviews, focus group discussions and facilitated brainstorming by staff and officials; participatory methods such as participatory M&E; public expenditure tracking surveys; rigorous impact evaluation; and cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is used to assess the performance of projects, institutions and programmes set up by governments, international organisations and NGOs. Its goal is to improve current and future management of outputs, outcomes and impact.