Considering the overarching goal of your policy advocacy project–to improve the lives of refugees in your focus area–your organization’s monitoring and evaluation program must measure the effectiveness of your advocacy program toward achieving your specific project goals.
The M&E program cycle provides a bridge between formal and informal processes. Policy advocacy involves a combination of informal and formal processes and M&E systems are often purposefully aimed at bridging the formal-informal gap. In M&E, undervaluing informal processes can be dangerous, important tacit knowledge and innovation may be lost as a result.
Strong policy advocacy monitoring and evaluation will alert your organization when you are not making progress. Especially in policy advocacy, a lack of progress should not deter your from pursuing your goal, although strategies may need re-evaluation. Your M&E program should provide your organization with feedback on the strategies you pursued, not deter lofty or risky policy advocacy goals.
Robust M&E programs will yield the following results:
- Credible Funding Reports: Collecting quantitative and qualitative indicators will provide your organization with well-reasoned evidence linking your activities and programs to improvements in the lives of refugees, or progress toward long-term objectives.
- Demonstrate to colleagues and local partners that your policy advocacy program is having an impact: It is very difficult to draw the connection between policy changes and the policy advocacy work of your organization because of the various other factors that affect these changes. However, thorough documentation allows your organization to produce strong case studies drawing on the experiences of individuals directly impacted by your policy advocacy.
- Learn from your experience: M&E programs require your organization to continuously evaluate success and failure of policy advocacy activities. This structured reflection helps fine tune your policy advocacy programmatic goals.
- Improve your policy advocacy project: Take time to reflect on the success, failure and efficiency of your organization’s brainstorming, planning and implementation of new policy advocacy projects. This investment will lead to noticeable improvements in the efficiency and implementation of your policy advocacy programs.