Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation of ICTs for Development

Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation of ICTs for Development

Ricardo Ramírez (University of Guelph, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-799-2.ch004
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In this chapter I call for participatory monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of information and communication technology for development (ICT4D). I describe the ontology of ICT4D as complex and unpredictable. I favour an epistemology that is based on systems thinking and adaptive management as a foundation for participatory approaches. The M&E of ICTs faces a number of challenges including the lack of a unifying theoretical framework, the need to define users and purposes for each evaluation, the importance of agreeing on the type of causality that is expected, and the reality of short- term project durations. In response to these challenges I review established and emerging approaches such as Utilization Focused Evaluation, Outcome Mapping and Most Significant Change that embrace participation. Participation is a term open to many interpretations; to clarify its meaning I offer several ladders of participation. I conclude with a reflection on the conditions necessary for participatory approaches to gain acceptance in this field. A major lesson in participatory M&E is to understand the methods and to go beyond and be vigilant of the conditions that enable their application.

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