Monitoring is the process of determining whether a programme is making progress towards its goals and objectives. It is done by routinely tracking activities on an ongoing basis. Monitoring activities typically assess inputs (i.e. the resources that contribute to making the work possible, for example funding, staff, time, equipment, supplies, and facilities) and resulting outputs (i.e. the products of the programme or work). Monitoring is done throughout the course of a programme in order to allow implementers to make adjustments as needed.
Evaluation is the process of examining whether the programme’s objectives have been achieved. Evaluation is designed to measure the effects of the CSE programme on the young people receiving it. Although conducted at the conclusion of a programme (and in some cases, after a pre-determined time following implementation to examine longer-term impacts of the programme), the system for evaluation needs to be established before the curriculum is delivered in order to collect the appropriate data throughout.
[Source: The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health; Women Deliver. 2018. Advocating for change for adolescents!]
Evaluation appropriate to assessing CSE programmes
- Situation assessments shed light on who is actually reached by existing programmes and who is not; when CSE is taught; and what policies and guidelines are in place.
- Process evaluation tracks activities, inputs, outputs, and progress, while operations research identifies programme delivery problems and tests new solutions.
- Outcome evaluation assesses achievements, such as changes in knowledge, attitudes, and skills among the programme participants.
- Impact evaluation examines longer-term achievements that are linked to a particular programme. These are assessed through research methods such as randomized controlled trials or quasi-experimental designs. It should be noted, however, that such trials are expensive and few CSE programmes have the capacity to conduct rigorous impact evaluations.
Appropriate research methods for CSE evaluation include document analysis (for programme quality); qualitative methods (in-depth interviews, focus group discussions); quasi-experimental designs; epidemiological time series analyses; population-based surveys; and cross-sectional (stakeholder) surveys. Sample criteria and indicators are outlined below:
[Source: UNFPA. 2015. The evaluation of comprehensive sexuality education programmes: a focus on the gender and empowerment outcomes, p.14.]