As discussed on the M&E page, there are acknowledged difficulties in evaluating processes, like engagement, rather than activities which deliver concrete and measurable results. This paper offers a different, more people-centred approach to the issues of M&E relating fo 'knowledge for development' a field which, because of its highly interactive nature, has similarities to engagement.
The paper offers an alternative journey which conceptualises monitoring and evaluation (M&E) as a collective inquiry whose learning focus is knowledge management for development (KM4D). It does so by respecting the diversity of aspirations and susceptible behaviours of the various adventurers volunteering for the enterprise of knowledge for development and the M&E of KM4D. It considers the (conceptual) equipment necessary to be fit for the journey, to avoid getting lost in the journey that pursues, monitors and evaluates the maze-like forest of development initiatives. A collective learning spiral is proposed which follows four stages: clarifying ideals, determining the facts, brainstorming their collective ideas and then putting them into practice. The key interested parties learn from each other at each stage, producing further knowledge which has been collectively constructed. The framework not only brings together the interests needed to effect change as knowledge cultures (individuals, communities, specialists, organisations and holistic thinkers) and functional groups. The approach is not prescriptive. It recognises that there are choices at all stages of a knowledge initiative and at all stages of monitoring / evaluating it. Taking as broad a perspective on these choices and reflecting collectively upon them seems a much sounder approach to M&E, as even the failings of the initiative become more useful. M&E is a journey and the richness lies in that journey, not in reaching the ideal destination. This paper is strongly linked to IKM Working Paper No. 12 which provides an overview of the field of M&E of KM4D and where it might be heading.