Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is a process that helps improve performance and achieve results. Its goal is to improve current and future management of outputs, outcomes and impact. It is mainly used to assess the performance of projects, institutions and programs set up by governments, international organisations and NGOs. It establishes links between the past, present and future actions.
Monitoring and evaluation processes can be managed by the donors financing the assessed activities, by an independent branch of the implementing organization, by the project managers or implementing team themselves and/or by a private company. The credibility and objectivity of monitoring and evaluation reports depend very much on the independence of the evaluators. Their expertise and independence is of major importance for the process to be successful.
Many international organizations such as the United Nations, USAID, the World Bank group and the Organization of American States have been utilizing this process for many years. The process is also growing in popularity in the developing countries where the governments have created their own national M&E systems to assess the development projects, the resource management and the government activities or administration. The developed countries are using this process to assess their own development and cooperation agencies.