M&E of Parliamentary Strengthening and Electoral Support Programmes: Please provide an overview of the literature on measuring, monitoring, and evaluating programmes for parliamentary strengthening and electoral support, including tools and methodologies.
Parliamentary stengthening: Attempts to assess the effectiveness of parliamentary strengthening programmes need to go beyond monitoring changes within parliament, to measuring changes in parliament’s influence on government. Moreover, the political nature of legislatures, the particular types of functions for which they are responsible, and the constant evolution in membership and political composition of legislatures lead to significant challenges in establishing indicators. Notwithstanding, much of the literature emphasises the importance of a baseline assessment of the legislature’s current capacity at the needs assessment / formulation stage of a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process. Participation of national stakeholders is key as their ownership is critical for programme sustainability.
Electoral support: It would appear that monitoring and evaluation remains the most neglected component of electoral assistance programmes. Nevertheless, it is often suggested that the electoral cycle approach offers a solid framework for planning, formulating, monitoring and implementing electoral assistance. The use of operational auditing, external and internal peer reviews, results-based monitoring and evaluation tools and independent or multi-stakeholder post-election reviews are recommended to help make electoral assistance programmes more effective and promote and assist in their evaluation.
Political party assistance: It is widely recognised that political party assistance can take years to bear fruit. M&E tools need to take this into account. Programme managers need to be patient. Direct and quantifiable attribution of outcomes to political party assistance is usually impossible. M&E tools need to be flexible enough to capture intended and actual results over time, and analyse each. Moreover, political party assistance is highly political. In particular, post-conflict contexts present unique challenges to political party assistance; the same is true for monitoring and evaluating in these situations.
Full response: http://www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/HD556.pdf