STEP 5: Develop and implement a monitoring plan
It is very important that programs understand that forecasting is a dynamic process—especially for NUMs—and monitoring is necessary to evaluate programs and indicate if corrections are needed. Continuous monitoring is critical when introducing and/or scaling a NUM because it is difficult to predict how uptake will actually occur. Monitoring will allow programs to identify any systemic issues that are inhibiting uptake, as well as to understand of product usage patterns (e.g., analyze if there is a difference in uptake in the public/private sector, if applicable; analyze where the product is/is not popular and why, etc.). Monitoring will help programs keep track of stock imbalances, particularly when there are sudden increases in consumption and more stock needs to be ordered to meet demand.
Initially, monitoring may be challenging because NUMs may not be included on commodity ordering or tracking forms, monitoring and supervision tools, or in service data collection forms. A short-term solution to consider is to implement “spot checks” to collect both quantitative and qualitative data on how the introduction and/or scale up of the NUM is going. For the longer term, programs should advocate for the NUM to be added to the monitoring and evaluation tools and surveys used in the public sector. If it is being offered in the private sector, sales data will support monitoring and evaluation efforts. To the extent possible, design the tools used in the short term to emulate the long term perspective.