Monitoring & Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are key aspects of any project and together they serve to support informed decisions, the best use of resources, and an objective assessment of the extent to which an organization’s activities have led to a desired result.

What is different about M&E of FP programs compared with M&E of other programs? In many ways, the answer is “not much.” The fundamental M&E principles (i.e., frameworks, indicators, data sources) apply to FP programs. However, FP programs have a few specific features. First, the outcomes are relatively well-defined, focused, and measurable, unlike in some other health program areas, including wider reproductive health. There is also a long history of data collection on FP outcomes through global survey programs such as the Demographic Health Surveys. This means that data collection methods and indicators have been well-tested and are fairly standard now and that we have extensive documentation of global trends in these indicators going back to the 1970s and 1980s. Also, given historical population debates, there have been several attempts to demonstrate that FP programs work, giving rise to a relatively rich literature on FP program impact evaluation and associated methods.

Outputs for FP programs cover the different functional areas and are also similar to other programs. For example:

  •  Functional area of training include people trained in FP activities, their performance, and the cost per person trained.
  • Service outputs for FP program M&E include things like service delivery points providing FP services, the quality of FP services, and the cost of increasing access and quality of FP services.
  • Service utilization outputs are closer to the population outcomes and impact and include measures of the volume and cost of services provided, such as new FP acceptors, couple-years of protection (the length of protection from pregnancy provided by different methods), returning clients, and the cost of increasing these various service utilization outputs.
  • Intermediate and long-term outcomes and impacts for FP programs typically include the contraceptive prevalence rate, unmet need, and fertility rates, particularly unintended fertility rates.

For country specific M&E Tools please see the Country Experiences page.