Assessing Approaches to Strengthen Monitoring and Evaluation in Development Projects: Evidence from Donor-Funded Projects in Machakos County, Kenya




Development Projects, Evaluation, Monitoring, Program, Project


Monitoring and Evaluation improves the quality of programme or project management since it provides information on how results namely outcomes, outputs and impact are achieved and assesses the effectiveness, relevance, coherence, efficiency, impact and sustainability of specific development interventions. The objectives of the study were to examine the influence of participatory monitoring and evaluation among development project teams in Machakos County and to assess the influence of M & E as a learning tool on implementation of development projects in Machakos County, Kenya. The study was guided by the Theory of Change which describes how particular interventions or sets of interventions lead to specific changes. The target population of this study was 102 programme staff implementing donor-funded projects. A census was done and therefore the target group formed the sample for the study. Primary data sources used were key informant interviews and a survey questionnaire. Quantitative data was analyzed in SPSS Version 28 and qualitative data was thematically analyzed.  According to the survey results, 58.2% agreed that the involvement of all relevant project stakeholders during the preliminary stages of project design strengthens M&E. The survey results showed that 49.45% of the respondents agreed that project planning reflected the various community needs and supported decision-making processes during project implementation. A majority (58.23%) agreed that feedback from various stakeholders was often incorporated and used to strengthen the delivery of various project activities informant interviews. Majority of the survey respondents (72%) indicated that learning is integral to ensuring M&E is effective and project teams can learn immensely from M & E. A majority (71%) agreed that project teams feared participating in M&E activities due to fear that it could be used against them. The findings show that the involvement of stakeholders in project design and implementation directly influenced successful project M & E. The study recommended involving relevant parties and stakeholders in a project since this influences its implementation and M & E among donor-funded development projects. Project managers need to put in place incentives for project teams to learn not just for reporting to funding agencies but for the benefit of internal learning among project teams.


Akanbang, B., & Abdallah, A. I. (2021). Participatory monitoring and evaluation in local government: A case study of Lambussie District, Ghana. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, 25, 40-55. DOI:

Bandura, A. (1971). Social Learning Theory. General Learning Press.

Boaz, A., Hanney, S., Borst, R., O'Shea, A., & Kok, M. (2018). How to engage stakeholders in research: Design principles to support improvement. Health Research Policy and Systems, 16(1), 1-9. DOI:

Boss, E. K., & Wanyoike, D. (2018). Effects of user perceptions and budgetary allocation on the adoption of information communication technology in participatory monitoring and evaluation of government-funded projects in Baringo County. International Journal of Business Management and Processes, 4(2), 10-10.

Brandon, T. P. (2019). Do project organizations learn from lessons learned? (Master's dissertation, Northcentral University).

Eken, G., Bilgin, G., Dikmen, I., & Birgonul, M. T. (2020). A lessons-learned tool for organizational learning in construction. Automation in Construction, 110, 102977. DOI:

El Khatib, M., Al Jaberi, A., & Al Mahri, A. (2021). Benchmarking projects' "lessons learned" through knowledge management systems: Case of an oil company. iBusiness, 13, 1-17. DOI:

Epp, M. V., & Garside, B. (2014). Monitoring and evaluating social learning: A framework for cross-initiative application. CCAFS Working Paper.

Firmansyah, D., & Saepuloh, D. (2022). Social learning theory: Cognitive and behavioral approaches. Jurnal Ilmiah Pendidikan Holistik, 1(3), 297-324. DOI:

Gayithri, K. (2019). Monitoring and evaluation of government programs in India and Canada. In Nation-building, education and culture in India and Canada (pp. 171-185). Springer. DOI:

Guo, X., & Kapucu, N. (2019). Examining stakeholder participation in social stability risk assessment for mega projects using network analysis. International Journal of Disaster Risk Management, 1(1), 1-31. DOI:

Huntington-Klein, N. (2021). The effect: An introduction to research design and causality. CRC Press. DOI:

Iddi, B., & Nuhu, S. (2018). Challenges and opportunities for community participation in monitoring and evaluation of government projects in Tanzania: Case of TASAF II, Bagamoyo District. Journal of Public Policy and Administration, 2(1), 1-10. DOI:

Kabonga, I. (2018). Principles and practice of monitoring and evaluation: A paraphernalia for effective development. Africanus: Journal of Development Studies, 48(2), 1-21. DOI:

Kananura, R. M., Ekirapa-Kiracho, E., Paina, L., Bumba, A., Mulekwa, G., Nakiganda-Busiku, D., Oo, H. N. L., Kiwanuka, S. N., George, A., & Peters, D. H. (2017). Participatory monitoring and evaluation approaches that influence decision-making: Lessons from a maternal and newborn study in Eastern Uganda. Health Research Policy and Systems, 15(2), 55. DOI:

Kanyamuna, V., Katowa, T., Mubita, A., Kanenga, H., Simui, F., & Kotze, D. A. (2020). Analysis of structural and organizational arrangements of monitoring and evaluation status for the public sector in Zambia. Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 7(6), 504-527. DOI:

Karimi, S. S., Mulwa, A. S., & Kyalo, D. N. (2021). Stakeholder capacity building in monitoring and evaluation and performance of literacy and numeracy educational programme in public primary schools in Nairobi County, Kenya. Higher Education Studies, 11(2), 186-200. DOI:

Khalayleh, A., Baloch, I., Dele-Ajayi, O., & Kaye, T. (2021). A monitoring and evaluation framework for blended learning: Pakistan Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. [Working Paper]. Available at Available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International,

Kusters, K., Buck, L., de Graaf, M., Minang, P., van Oosten, C., & Zagt, R. (2018). Participatory planning, monitoring and evaluation of multi-stakeholder platforms in integrated landscape initiatives. Environmental Management, 62(1), 170-181. DOI:

Leariwala, L. J. (2021). Participatory monitoring and evaluation practices and performance of selected national government constituency development fund projects in Samburu County, Kenya. (Master's Thesis: Kenyatta University).

Lee, G. Y., Hickie, I. B., Occhipinti, J. A., Song, Y. J. C., Skinner, A., Camacho, S., Lawson, K., Hilber, A. M., & Freebairn, L. (2022). Presenting a comprehensive multi-scale evaluation framework for participatory modelling programs: A scoping review. PloS one, 17(4), e0266125. DOI:

Linfield, J. K., & Posavac, E. J. (2018). Program evaluation: Methods and case studies (9th ed.). Routledge. DOI:

Lochmiller, C. R. (2021). Conducting thematic analysis with qualitative data. The Qualitative Report, 26(6), 2029-2044. DOI:

Mertens, D. M., & Wilson, A. T. (2018). Program evaluation theory and practice. Guilford Publications.

Musyoka, L. (2020). An analysis of the perceptions of monitoring and evaluation as a tool for measuring the effectiveness of project implementation: A case of Kenya National Highway Authority (Master's dissertation, Daystar University, School of Human and Social Sciences).

Mwanzia, E. K. (2019). Influence of participatory monitoring and evaluation on performance of donor funded food security projects in Kenya: A case of Kibwezi West Sub-county in Makueni County (Doctoral dissertation, University of Nairobi).

Neumann, J., Robson, A., & Sloan, D. (2018). Monitoring and evaluation of strategic change programme implementation-Lessons from a case analysis. Evaluation and Program Planning, 66, 120-132. DOI:

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2011). The OECD DAC handbook on security system reform supporting security and justice. OECD. DOI:

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2022). Evaluation criteria.

Purdue, S., Peterson, H., & Deng, C. (2018). The case for greater youth participation in monitoring and evaluation in international development. Evaluation Journal of Australasia, 18(4), 206-221. DOI:

Sartorius, R. (2018). Building local capacity for participatory monitoring and evaluation. In Evaluation and poverty reduction (pp. 133-143). Routledge. DOI:

SIDA. (2023). Monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) guide: Using MEL to strengthen your organisational effectiveness. Scotland's International Development Alliance.

Soto, R. L., de Vente, J., & Padilla, M. C. (2021). Learning from farmers' experiences with participatory monitoring and evaluation of regenerative agriculture based on visual soil assessment. Journal of Rural Studies, 88, 192-204. DOI:

Sulemana, M., Musah, A. B., & Simon, K. K. (2018). An assessment of stakeholder participation in monitoring and evaluation of district assembly projects and programmes in the Savelugu-Nanton Municipality Assembly, Ghana. Ghana Journal of Development Studies, 15(1), 173-195. DOI:

Tengan, C., & Aigbavboa, C. (2021). Validating factors influencing monitoring and evaluation in the Ghanaian construction industry: A Delphi study approach. International Journal of Construction Management, 21(3), 223-234. DOI:

Therese, I. M., Gamariel, N., & Placide, M. (2022). The relationship between monitoring, evaluation methods, and the achievement of a Rwandan agricultural project: A case of radical terraces funded by USAID-HINGA WEZE project in Nyabihu District (2018-2020). International Journal of Natural Sciences: Current and Future Research Trends, 13(1), 22-29.

Turner, J. R. (2022). The handbook of project-based management. Prentice Hall.

United Nations Development Assistance Framework. (2014). Theory of change: UNDAF companion guide. UNDAF. Available at

Weber, C., Åberg, U., Buijse, A. D., Hughes, F. M. R., McKie, B. G., Piégay, H., Roni, P., Vollenweider, S., & Haertel-Borer, S. (2018). Goals and principles for programmatic river restoration monitoring and evaluation: Collaborative learning across multiple projects. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 5(1), e1257. DOI:

Weiss, C. H. (1995). Nothing as practical as good theory: Exploring theory-based evaluation for comprehensive community initiatives for children and families. In New approaches to evaluating community initiatives: Concepts, methods, and contexts (Vol. 1, pp. 65-92).

Weiss, C. H. (1972). Evaluation research: Methods of assessing program effectiveness. Prentice-Hall.

Witkowski, S. (2020). An examination of stakeholder perceptions in conventional and participatory monitoring and evaluation of environmental management (Master's dissertation, Brock University).

Wyrozebski, P., & Pawlak, R. (2021). The role and meaning of lessons learned in project knowledge management in organizations in Poland. Procedia Computer Science, 192, 2396-2405. DOI:

Zare, F., Guillaume, J., Elsawah, S., Croke, B., Fu, B., Iwanaga, T., Merritt, W., Partington, D., Ticehurst, J., & Jakeman, A. J. (2021). A formative and self-reflective approach to monitoring and evaluation of interdisciplinary team research: An integrated water resource modelling application in Australia. Journal of Hydrology, 596, 126070. DOI:




How to Cite

Kimote, J., & Muchai, S. K. (2024). Assessing Approaches to Strengthen Monitoring and Evaluation in Development Projects: Evidence from Donor-Funded Projects in Machakos County, Kenya. African Journal of Empirical Research, 5(2), 598–607.