Monitoring of projects has typically been planned, implemented and considered as a form of ‘policing’, instead of as an opportunity to learn, innovate and strategize to maximize outputs and outcomes per unit of input. There is however a paradigm shift taking place in the way monitoring and impact assessment approaches are now being designed. Lessons from the implementation of development projects indicate that although external mid-term and end of project reviews have their benefits and help to justify investments, internalizing monitoring systems within project designs and implementation have far greater, long term and meaningful benefits.
An appropriately designed and implemented monitoring, impact assessment and learning (MIL) system has the potential to generate learning through the life of a project rather than only at its culmination. This learning can feed into the project cycle and improve implementation and therefore the outputs and outcomes. Recognizing this potential, a MIL system has been developed under the CoDI project, which beyond the project itself, provides lessons on conducting ‘transitional research’ and translating concepts and theories into practice.