7 knowledge areas you need to master for an M and E career

January 21, 2021

Monitoring and Evaluation is one of the most rewarding positions in organizations that implement development projects. To land an M and E job, your qualifications and experiences must align with the requirements of the job position being advertised. This will be different from one organization to the next.

However, there are certain essentials that every person who aspires to work in M and E or one who is already working in M and E must be knowledgeable about. These are things you should expect to be asked on an interview or tasks you will be expected do as part of an organization’s M and E personnel. So if you are getting ready to go for an M and E interview, make sure you tick as many of these items as you can.

1. M and E concepts

This is the most obvious of the list. As an M and E person, you need to know understand the monitoring and evaluation body of knowledge. This includes concepts like the following:

  • What is monitoring, evaluation and their differences
  • What elements of a project are monitored and evaluated
  • The different types of monitoring and evaluation and the kind of questions that are asked in each of them
  • Ethical considerations in M and E
  • The place of M and E in the project management cycle

2. M and E planning

As part of an organization’s M and E personnel, you would be tasked to design M and E plans for projects and programmes. To plan a project’s M and E activities, one has to firstly understand how projects come about. This calls for an understanding in project designing. Apart from this, you will also need to know the following as they relate to M and E planning:

  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Development of logic frameworks
  • Indicators

3. Data collection tools

Much of M and E is the collection and analysis of data. Everyone in the M and E department must know how to develop data collection tools such as structures questionnaires, checklists and interview guides.

Considering that many organizations are migrating from data collection using paper forms to using mobile devices, it pays to invest in knowledge of how to develop mobile data collection tools using such software as ODK/Kobo Toolbox, CSPro, Survey Solutions or Epi Info.

4. Research methods

M and E is partly (sometimes usually) research work hence it is expected that you have a good grip on your research skills such as research planning, development of research tools, entering and organizing data, data analysis, interpretation and report writing.

You will need to understand the different research methods you can use such as individual questionnaires, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, observations and rapid appraisals. You will also need to understand the difference between qualitative and quantitative data, how each type of data can be collected and analyzed as well as how you can triangulate them to get the best results out of your data collection.

5. Data management and analysis

Lastly, people in M and E must know how to collect, clean, analyze and interpret data, especially statistical data. Tools like Microsoft Excel SPSS, STATA or R come in handy for this task.

Since they deal most times with monitoring data that is collected at closer intervals, being able to develop a dynamic reporting dashboard using tools like Microsoft Excel, Tableu or Microsoft Power BI is a guaranteed plus.


M and E is increasingly becoming a popular position mostly in development organizations. This also means there is a lot of competition to land or maintain a job as part of an organization’s M and E. It is therefore important to ensure that you have all the best skills for the job plus extra for differentiating yourself with the rest.

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