Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Monitoring without Indicators - Most Significant Change

On the Pelican list today, they sent through this handy reference to something that I think is infinitely useful for gathering proof and evidence when you don't have indicators and stacks of pre-developed evaluation mechanisms.

Check it out at: and

The guide (Prepared by Rick Davies and Jess Dart) explains the MSC technique as follows:

"The most significant change (MSC) technique is a form of participatory monitoring and evaluation. It is participatory because many project stakeholders are involved both in deciding the sorts of change to be recorded and in analysing the data. It is a form of monitoring because it occurs throughout the program cycle and provides information to help people manage the program. It contributes to evaluation because it provides data on impact and outcomes that can be used to help assess the performance of the program as a whole.
Essentially, the process involves the collection of significant change (SC) stories emanating from the field level, and the systematic selection of the most significant of these stories by panels of designated stakeholders or staff. The designated staff and stakeholders are initially involved by ‘searching’ for project impact. Once changes have been captured, various people sit down together, read the stories aloud and have regular and often in-depth discussions about the value of these reported changes. When the technique is implemented successfully, whole teams of people begin to focus their attention on program impact."

Certainly this looks like a very promising technique!

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