Designing a Social and Behavior Change Communication Strategy

Step 7: Monitoring and Evaluation

Your monitoring and evaluation (M&E) efforts help you to compare the effects of your program with its objectives and identify factors that contributed to or constrained the achievement of program goals. Results from monitoring and evaluation can also contribute to theory development and understanding.

While M&E are important components of every SBCC program, they are often overlooked in the planning process. It is important to plan ahead and include a monitoring and evaluation plan within your strategy and to budget at least 10% of your budget to M&E activities.

This Step includes three tasks to help you identify indicators and develop a monitoring and evaluation plan.

What You Need to Know to Get Started

If the project your communication activities support already has an M&E plan in place:

  • Add communication indicators and provide input into the monitoring plan.

If you do not yet have an M&E plan in place:

  • Establish an M&E committee, right at the beginning of your program, with experience in research design, sampling, and statistical analysis. This committee can work to finalize the M&E plan, as well as provide technical input for any formative research.

The timing of your evaluation at the end of your SBCC campaign is important since effects decay over time. The longer the gap in measurement from the end of the campaign to the evaluation, the smaller the average effect size.

Process: Facilitated discussion or small group work

Output: Draft activity and indicator table

Indicators are used to track progress toward achieving your objectives and are used to monitor and evaluate your efforts. They can be used to assess the changes happening at the individual, family/peer, community, and society levels. Assessing change and tracking progress toward achieving your objectives can help show the impact of your SBCC efforts.

It is important that the indicators you use measure what your program has set out to achieve and not over-promise beyond your program’s scope. If your program is trying to increase approval of modern family planning methods, measure approval and not family planning uptake (which is affected by other factors as well – like method availability, service provider attitude etc.)

  1. Determine what you will need to know about your program.
  2. Refer to your strategic framework from Step 4, Task 2 for help selecting appropriate monitoring and evaluation indicators.
  3. Decide what indicators best represent the information you need to know about your program.
  4. Use these criteria to ensure that each indicator is:
    • Valid: Does the indicator measure what it is intended to measure?
    • Reliable: Does the indicator produce similar results when used in other contexts?
    • Specific? Does the indicator measure a single topic or challenge?
    • Sensitive? Does the indicator reflect changes in what is being studied?
    • Operational? Is the indicator measurable or quantifiable with developed and tested definitions and reference standards?
  5. List indicators for each of your activities from Step 6 Task 2:
Activity Indicators

 Download this form to identify indicators to track progress.

Process: Facilitated discussion or small group work

Output: Draft monitoring plan

Monitoring your program during the implementation phase will help determine if your program is on track and if you are making progress towards meeting your objectives. It helps you quantify what has been done, when it has been done, how it has been done, and who has been reached. It can also help you identify any problems so that adjustments can be made. Monitoring basically tries to answer the question "How much of what we planned to do did we manage to do as planned?"

Questions to ask during monitoring:

  • Are activities being implemented as planned and on schedule?
  • Is the audience being exposed to the messages and activities as planned?
  • How is the audience reacting to the messages and activities?
  • Has the audience taken any action in response to the messages and activities?
  • What, if any, issues have come up since implementation?
    • If issues have arisen, how can you address them?
  • What are the potential threats to successfully reaching your intended audience?
  • Explain any new opportunities to successfully reach your intended audience.
  • Which components of the program are successfully reaching your intended audience?
  • Are there any components of the program that are not reaching your intended audience?
    • How can these components be improved in order to better reach the intended audience?
  • Develop monitoring indicators. (Refer to Possible Monitoring Indicators below.)
  • Indicate how you will monitor the progress of your program and how often.
  • Link your monitoring indicators to the objectives drafted in Step 3.
Possible Monitoring Indicators :

  • Number of times messages aired on radio or television during a certain time period.
  • Number of materials disseminated, by type, during a certain time period.
  • Number of audience members participating in community mobilization events.
  • Percentage of audience who recall hearing or seeing a specific message.

Process: Facilitated discussion or small group work

Output: Evaluation plan

Just as it is important to monitor progress during the life of the program, it is also important to evaluate the program upon its completion. This will help determine the effect of your SBCC Program and if anyone is better off as a result of it.

Evaluation can assess program achievements:

  • How well did the program meet its objectives?
  • What did the program do well?
  • What could have been better?

Evaluation can measure the extent to which observed changes in outcomes can be linked to the SBCC program.

  • How well did your program work when implemented?
  • How is your program responsible for observed changes?
  • How can you determine the extent to which observed changes are linked to your activities?

Evaluation can help plan for the next program phase.

  • What successes can be scaled up?
  • How can you replicate positive impact?
  • What areas of the program need to be revised and/or improved?

Include the following in your evaluation plan:

  • Was the audience exposed to the messages and activities as intended?
  • Did the desired outcomes take place?
  • Are changes in outcome due to your program?
  • Did communities with the program have better results than communities without the program?
  • Did audience members with greater exposure to program messages have better results than audience members with less exposure?

You may not have enough time during the Strategy Development workshop to finalize your M&E plans. The plans can be finalized by your M&E committee or M&E officer and be added to the final version of the communication strategy. Your plans should include who can best help you analyze the data and how you can best disseminate the results and subsequent reports.

For more information: Program Manager’s Planning Monitoring & Evaluation Toolkit

Final Outputs

  • Completed Monitoring and Evaluation Plan

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