Involvement of the Districts in Monitoring & Evaluation
Process in Ghana
The Growth and Poverty Reduction Policy Framework GPRS II (2006-2009) establish
broad development agenda. The reason for this was perhaps to avoid the imposition of a
uniform solution to highly diverse issues of all the districts. Districts are therefore
expected to analyze their specific context and circumstances in line with the GPRS II.
This brings to the fore institutional and governance mechanisms (decentralized
structures) to address the needs of the citizenry, particularly of the local level.
Increased efforts were made to embed the culture of Results Based M&E in all agencies
of government. However, the Districts were not covered adequately in the Annual
Progress Reports. This necessitated the move towards the preparation of the District
M&E Guidelines and the training of the District M&E staff to come out with their own
M&E Plans and District Annual Progress Reports to assist the District Assemblies to
develop and institute an effective and efficient system for tracking the implementation of
programmes, projects and activities and also generate timely reports for the NDPC and
other stakeholders.The Guidelines underpin the development of an integrated national
monitoring and evaluation system. Monitoring the implementation of the District
Medium Term Development Plans (DMTDP) from 2006 to 2009 is a continuation of the
successful and collaborative effort to develop an efficient results-based M&E system for
The core premise of monitoring and evaluation is that services can be continually
improved through informed decision making and social learning, leading to social and
economic progress. Fuelled by the recognition that resources are limited, the demand for
results-based M&E has grown rapidly in recent times. This is particularly true in Ghana,
where increasing emphasis is now being placed on public sector transparency and
accountability. M&E in the country has therefore shifted from being implementation
based (concerned with the implementation of activities) to being results-based (assessing
if real changes have occurred).
The objective of the District-based Monitoring and Evaluation Guidelines was to help the
District Assemblies to develop and institute an effective and efficient system for tracking
the programs, projects and activities that are ongoing in their local areas, and to generate
timely reports to for the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and other
stakeholders. The Guidelines outlined the planning of an M&E system.
1.5 Process of Developing the Guidelines
The NDPC prepared the Guidelines with inputs from several partners and stakeholders.
Preparation of these Guidelines has been very participatory. A first draft was produced
after reviewing the previous draft Guidelines and diverse M&E literature. This draft was
reviewed internally and distributed to other stakeholders outside NDPC for their inputs.
Peers/experts thoroughly reviewed the first draft during a two-day workshop at the Shai
Hills Resort outside Accra. This was followed by a pre-testing exercise with Regional
Planning Coordinating Unit (RPCU) and District Planning Coordinating Unit (DPCU)
members in Kumasi. The comments from the pre-testing workshop were incorporated
into the final document prior to the nationwide orientation on the M&E Guidelines.
2.1 INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR DECENTRALISED M&E
Section two outlines the institutional arrangements that support and sustain effective
M&E at the national, regional and district levels. It defined roles and responsibilities of
National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), other government agencies and
officials in accordance with the relevant legal provisions. It laid emphasis on the
involvement of traditional authorities, civil society organisations and development
partners to create a holistic and participatory approach, effective feedback mechanisms
and demand for M&E information.
NDPC advises the President and Parliament (on request) on the performance of public
policy and programmes, their impacts, and on the need for policy reforms. Whereas the
National Development Planning Commission Act, 479 of 1994 established the
Commission; the National Development Planning (System) Act 480 specifies its
planning, monitoring and evaluation functions.
In fulfilment of its constitutional mandate, NDPC is in continuous dialogue with the
Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), the Ghana Statistical Service
(GSS), Office of the President, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and
Environment (MLGRDE), other MDAs, Development Partners as well as civil society on
all planning and M&E matters. For policy formulation, planning, monitoring and
evaluation purposes, NDPC also works through Cross-Sectoral Planning Groups
(CSPGs). The CSPGs are composed of state and non-state actors drawn from MDAs,
academic and research institutions, Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organisations
(CSO/NGO), the private sector and selected individuals. The NDPC defines core
indicators, review M&E reports and perform other M&E functions.
2.2 Monitoring and Evaluation Mandate and Functions of the RPCUs
The constitutional and legal mandates for the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and
the District Planning Coordinating Unit (DPCU) to perform their coordination,
monitoring, evaluation and harmonization functions were clearly specified by Acts of
Parliament; the National Development Planning (Systems) Act, 1994, and Act 480 Local
Government Act, 1993, Act 462. To perform its M&E functions effectively, the RPCUs
and DPCUs co-opt representatives from other sector agencies, persons from the private
sector and civil society organizations whose inputs are needed.
Figure 1: Decentralised M&E institutional and reporting framework
Information Flow and Key Actors Roles
• M&E Division of NDPC • Prepare Guidelines,
Training Manuals and
NDPC • Cross-Sectoral Planning
Build M&E capacity
• CSOs, private sector • Assist to create the
actors necessary supporting
conditions for M&E
• RPCU • Guide districts and
• other sector agencies sectors to develop and
RPCU • representatives of CSOs
implement M&E Plans
• Private sector actors • Conduct review
• Prepare Regional and
Sector APRs, ETC.
• DPCU • Develop & implement
• other sector agencies M&E Plans
DPCU • representatives of TAs • Collect, Collate &
and CSOs Analyse Data
• Private sector actors • Prepare District APRs
• Etc. • ETC.
To fulfil its M&E functions, the roles and responsibilities of the RPCU included the
a. Provide guidance to the districts in the development and implementation of their
b. Demand, collate and evaluate data from district level M&E for onward
transmission to the NDPC and other stakeholders
c. Evaluate, recommend and support capacity building and other M&E needs for the
d. Review data and verify inconsistencies
e. Support GSS formal survey interventions relating to GPRS II
f. Verify the indicators submitted from the districts through workshops
g. Periodically visit key project sites and report on development progress in the
h. Facilitate dissemination of GPRS II and other M&E reports to all the districts and
i. Ensure that gender equality/equity indicators are clearly outlined in the M&E
Plans and the information analysed from a gender perspective
j. Hold annual workshops to involve all DAs within the region for cross District
GPRS II review with policy recommendations
k. Review and collate the district Annual Progress Reports to produce the regional
l. Facilitate evaluation of the DMTDPs and make recommendations for policy
To fulfil its M&E functions, the DPCU performs the following roles and
a. Directly responsible for the development and implementation of the District M&E
b. Convene quarterly DMTDP performance review meetings with all stakeholders. It
is important that representatives of the NDPC and RPCU attend the quarterly
c. Undertake periodic project site inspections
d. Liaise with RPCU to agree on goals and targets
e. Define indicators for measuring change, especially on gender equity and other
cross-cutting themes in GPRS II, such as vulnerability, exclusion and social
f. Collect and collate feedback from the sub-district levels for preparation of the
g. Facilitate dissemination and public awareness on GPRS II, the Annual Progress
Reports and other documents from NDPC at district and sub-district levels.1
h. Provide support to GSS to undertake district level CWIQ and other national
surveys and census
i. Produce District Annual Progress Reports and make recommendations for policy
review Hold annual workshops to involve all DAs within the region for cross
District GPRS II review with policy recommendations
j. Review and collate the district Annual Progress Reports to produce the regional
k. Facilitate evaluation of the DMTDPs and make recommendations for policy
l. Conduct Mid-term and Terminal Evaluations of the DMTDP
3. DMTDP MONITORING AND EVALUATION PLAN
As stated in Section 1.2, the key output from these guidelines is the District Monitoring
and Evaluation Plan and the District Annual Progress. This plan is used by DAs to
measure progress toward achievement of DMTDP goals and objectives in a structured
way. It also provides a clear direction on how specific activities and expected results of
the DMTDP will be monitored and evaluated. The plan incorporates components that
make it possible to understand the DMTDP, reflect and learn lessons from its
implementation. The process of developing the plan is participatory and collaborative
with a strong feedback from public hearings as recommended in the District Planning
Guidelines. The plan write-up is kept as simple as possible. This plan requires the
approval of the District Assembly, alongside the DMTDP, thereby ensuring that
resources are committed for M&E activities. The following are the steps used to
developing the M&E Plan.
Step 1: Identification and analysis of stakeholders
An initial activity of the DPCU was to identify and classify all organisations and groups
of people with interests in development and poverty reduction in the district.
Step 2: Assessing needs and Creating the necessary conditions and
The purpose of this step was to assess the capability of the district to develop and
implement the M&E Plan. It is the process of evaluating the status, conditions, needs and
M&E capacity in the district. Assessing the necessary M&E conditions meant identifying
not just the funds for monitoring and evaluation but also the requisite human resource,
the capacity to manage Information and Communication Technology (ICT), ensure that
the appropriate incentives and material were in place for effective DMTDP
implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Step 3: Monitoring Indicators
.Districts are the strategic locations for implementing, monitoring and evaluating
programmes and projects of the MDGs and the GPRS II indicators. Twenty core
indicators (including GPRS II and that of MDGs ) defined by NDPC, in collaboration
with its key stakeholders and five district specific indicators, based on the DMTDP
determined through a participatory and collaborative process were selected for
monitoring. The core and district specific indicators were those reported on in the Annual
Progress Reports. They were also:
i. Categorised into input, output, outcome or impact indicators
ii. Disaggregated (where possible) by age, gender, communities, etc.
iii. Shows how information is measured and by whom
iv. Indicates the frequency of monitoring
v. Have targets set for the DMTDP implementation period
vi. Have baselines (they should be established where they do not exist)
vii. Have targets of what can be achieved by 2009 as well as annual targets.
Step 4: M&E Matrix
One of the main features of the M&E plan is a monitoring and evaluation matrix. Each
district prepared an M&E Matrix. The matrix provides a format for presenting the inputs,
outputs, outcomes, and impacts (and their corresponding activities) for each DMTDP
objective. It summarized the overall monitoring and evaluation plan by including a list of
methods for collecting data. This matrix also showed the linkage of the DMTDP to GPRS
II policy objectives.
Step 5: M&E Calendar (WORK plan)
Another vital component of the M&E Plan was the Annual M&E Calendar or Work Plan.
It was developed through a participatory process featuring the actors, (who should do
what), the time frame and a budget relating to each activity. The calendar was detailed
enough with specific dates for the various activities.
Step 6: M&E Budget
Even though there is an allocation from the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF)
for this purpose, M&E had earlier received little priority in DA budgets and
comparatively insignificant actual disbursements. It was then strongly recommended that
all DPCUs draw the M&E budget through a participatory process. The M&E budget is
more than just a statement of proposed expenditures, it is as much a statement on whether
effective M&E is conducted or not.
Step 7: Data Collection, validation and collation
Data on Programmes and Projects
DPCU compiled a register of all ongoing programmes and projects in the district. All
programmes and projects undertaken under the auspices of the District Assembly, by
MDAs as well as Development Partners and NGOs were covered.
Primary and Secondary Data
The data gathered was both quantitative and qualitative and should include demographic,
socio-economic, revenue, expenditure and others as may be requested by the RPCU,
NDPC and other MDAs. The data was then categorised into:
Process data e.g. operations of the DPCU and sub-district structures,
tendering and contract awards, compliance with audit recommendations,
Input data e.g. government transfers (DACF, HIPC, etc.) and other
transfers from development partners and NGOs, IGF, etc.
Output data e.g. construction projects, crops and livestock production, etc.
Outcome/impact data e.g. literacy rate, BECE results, infant mortality, etc.
Some useful sources of secondary data included those from NGOs, MDAs and their
decentralized agencies: CWSA, MOFA, GHS, Ghana Statistical Service (CWIQ, GLSS,
GDHS surveys and the National Census reports, etc.), were also collected.
A data validation forum was then organised with stakeholders to ensure that the data is
devoid of errors and inconsistencies.
M&E Information System - GhanaInfo
The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) in collaboration with NDPC launched the GhanaInfo
database in July 2005. Capacities of selected DAs have been built to access and use the
database for data collection, analysis and presentation. However, Districts that have not
yet received the training continue to use existing data collection instruments and M&E
software at their disposal.
Step 8: Data Analysis and use of the results
The DPCUs collated all M&E data in each district (including those gathered by the
decentralised agencies and CSOs), analysed them using various statistical packages and
reported to the RPCU, NDPC and other MDAs and stakeholders. The basis for the
analysis was to report on the progress of each indicator towards meeting the goal,
objectives and targets of the DMTDP and GPRS II. Each indicator was examined and the
appropriate action taken to address the findings and lessons learned were fed into the
district action plans and the next DMTDP. In spite of that, districts also focus on the
information needs of Development Partners and other stakeholders and identified
linkages between the various projects and their goals and objectives of the
Step 9: Reporting
After each monitoring exercise, project actors, communities and sector departments
involved were made aware of the key observations and findings. DPCUs briefs the DCE,
Presiding Member and other DA actors on progress of work, observations and gaps
identified. This allowed all stakeholders to take the necessary action that required redress
before the next monitoring exercise. The DPCU included all the findings and reactions in
its Quarterly and Annual Progress Reports using a common reporting format.
Step 10: Information Dissemination
A key mechanism for increasing the demand for the results of M&E, but often forgotten
step is planning how the M&E information is disseminated to relevant stakeholders and
decision-makers. Guided by effective communication strategy, the contents of these
reports were then shared with stakeholders at the sub-district and community levels
thereby increases the accountability and transparency of the DA as well as displaying
commitment to development and poverty reduction. Furthermore, it boosted the
commitment of the stakeholders to support development interventions that emerged from
the results of M&E outcomes.
Some of the dissemination techniques that are used include:
Announcements, discussions and broadcast in the local news media e.g.
local FM station, local newspapers, etc.
Meeting with traditional authorities, representatives of area councils and
other opinion leaders and tasking them to take the messages back to their
Holding workshops and community meetings at central locations
throughout the District.
Showcase the District on television stations
4.0 Participatory M&E
Participatory M&E is a valuable tool to capture perceptions and assess whether
interventions have met these expectations, especially of the poor and the vulnerable in
society. Citizens’ assessment, using citizens score card and reporting cards as well as
focus group discussions were conducted to find out their perception on service delivery
of selected issues within the DMTDP. Such information was used to support the
quantitative data on the indicators.
• District M&E Plans prepared
• District Annual Progress Reports prepared
• Institutional structures were implemented
• Common Reporting formats designed for coordination of District information
(including that or Development Partners)
• All Disticts are now preparing M&E Budgets
Lack of appreciation for the National M&E Plan
Inadequate district Planning Officers and capacity building
Changing the mindset of the District staff
Limited incentives and motivation
Inadequate logistics and funding for M&E activities
Inadequate skills for data analysis
Lack of Internet facility to use the GhanaInfo Database (Devinfo) in certain
7. LESSONS LEARNED
M&E requires committed leadership at all levels to succeed
M&E is a coordinated effort involving all District Departments
Financial and Budget Officers are deeply involved
M&E stakeholders are equally responsible for effective implementation,
monitoring and evaluation of District Development
Common Reporting formats improves coordination of District information
The initiative has resulted in the establishment of a direct link between the M&E Matrix
and the M&E Budget as well as the goals and objectives of the DMTDP with the national
development priorities. Citizens are now calling upon the government to be more
accountable and transparent and to demonstrate more results.