Monitoring P/CVE Projects

Monitoring a project, and specifically a project’s indicators, helps staff make informed decisions on project activities and necessary adaptations. In a P/CVE project, there are specific types of monitoring to focus on in addition to monitoring a program’s performance and results: 

Conflict sensitive monitoring

A key component to many P/CVE projects is conflict sensitive monitoring. Before exploring this kind of monitoring, review the Cross-Cutting Section on Conflict Sensitivity. Conflict sensitive monitoring enables project staff to gain a detailed understanding of the context, the project, the interaction between the two, and any positive and negative unintended impacts from the program. If a program conducted a conflict analysis, it is possible to monitor those same indicators to assess changes in the context.

When conducting conflict sensitive monitoring, it is also important to understand how enumerators engage with survey participants, the composition of different focus groups, and the language in questionnaires. These components all have to be sensitive to the conflict drivers and relational information gained through the conflict analysis.

Complexity-Aware Monitoring (C-AM)

C-AM improves your ability to measure and respond to unexpected changes in context and unanticipated project outcomes. It may be helpful to review the Cross-Cutting Section on Conflict Sensitivity before determining your C-AM strategy. According to USAID, complexity-aware monitoring is appropriate for aspects of strategies, projects or activities where:

  • Cause-and-effect relationships are uncertain;
  • Stakeholders bring diverse perspectives to the situation, making consensus impractical;
  • Contextual factors are likely to influence programming;
  • New opportunities or new needs continue to arise; and
  • The pace of change is unpredictable.

The conflict analysis explained in the Assess Module will help you identify the dividers and connectors and design a contextualized project that takes these factors into consideration. The C-AM approach then provides you with a way to identify changes in the dynamics that may impact your project so that you are consistently monitoring the environment.

USAID’s Learning Lab identifies five approaches to complexity-aware monitoring. More information can be found on the Learning Lab’s website.

Challenges in P/CVE Monitoring

While monitoring P/CVE projects is extremely important, the complex nature of these programs can make monitoring activities difficult. Below are a few challenges that P/CVE programs may face when monitoring activities, along with mitigation strategies.

Challenge Impact Mitigation Strategy
Outcomes develop over a long time Elements of your program may not be evidence-based as not enough results are currently documented
  • Unpack assumptions and use evidence-based theories of change when possible/available
  • Acknowledge that program findings will contribute to creating future evidence-based hypotheses
Rapidly changing and dynamic context Intervention strategies may be out of date or need adaptation
  • Regularly review conflict analyses and needs assessments
  • Conflict sensitivity monitoring
  • Apply complexity-aware monitoring approaches
Heightened emotions around CVE may lead to lack of trust from target population Key actors may not share all relevant information
  • Take the time to build trust with stakeholders and beneficiaries
  • Use anonymous surveys if needed, or neutral monitors from the community
Bias in M&E participants’/respondents’ feedback Results in unreliable data
  • Use anonymised data collection techniques (such as online, SMS and remote surveys)
Safety risks to M&E staff may impede their ability to access the activity site
  • Lack of access to or oversight of select activities
  • Lack of ability to verify or triangulate data
  • Third-party monitoring by trusted partners and community groups with access to hard-to-reach groups
  • Develop M&E processes which consider the conflict dynamics and risks to implementers and M&E teams
  • Remote evaluation techniques (e.g. comments boxes, SMS or telephone reporting, web-based monitoring or surveys, regular verbal reports and peer observations).
Difficult to measure intent of potential violent extremists and prove that programming changed their action Difficult to prove causality between program and P/CVE
  • Triangulate information from different data points
  • Set goals, objectives and indicators that focus on changes to identified VE drivers in a certain context, rather than the number of recruits to VEOs

*Adapted from Improving the impact of prevention violent extremism programming; UNDP/International Alert; and Evaluate your CVE Results – Hedayah.