Assessing progress: A Look at Kenya’s National Monitoring and Evaluation Policy

September 23, 2022 - Reading Time: 4 minutes - By Amrit Labhuram

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is critical for the achievement of the country’s development goals. It provides information on implementation progress of a programme/project and the extent to which an intervention is realising its intended results. M&E thus provides important information in a continuous learning process that ensures that performance takes place according to work-plans and expected results are realised in an effective and efficient manner. M&E findings on performance review are a critical component in identifying priority areas for intervention and resource allocation and re-allocation. 

Published in August 2022, the Kenya National M&E Policy provides an overall guidance on the establishment and implementation of the M&E function in the public sector. The Policy was developed after conducting a comparative analysis of M&E policies in Chile, Colombia, South Africa, Mexico, Benin, Ghana and Uganda.

Concerningly, a review of the relevant provisions in Kenya’s laws, policies and regulations reveal gaps in the provision of the appropriate policy framework for the establishment and operationalisation of an effective M&E function in the public sector. Furthermore, there are increasing calls to the government to improve accountability and transparency regarding public expenditure and demonstrate real results.

The Policy shall among other things aid in developing M&E capacities, provide M&E structures, coordination and reporting formats at both national and county levels.

Scope of the Policy

The Policy shall apply to all institutions in the public sector and other actors that partner with the government in implementation of public policies, programmes and projects. These include: 

  • National government and its entities including constitutional commissions, independent offices and state organs;
  • County governments; and 
  • Non-State actors implementing public programmes. 

Policy Objectives 

The strategic objectives of the Policy are to: 

  • Harmonise M&E systems for all public projects, programmes and policies at all levels (national and county);
  • Ensure timely and accurate reporting of progress and results at all levels (national and county);
  • Strengthen capacity to effectively monitor and evaluate policies, programmes and projects at all levels (national and county);
  • Ensure effective coordination of M&E systems in the country; 
  • Promote a culture and practice of M&E in the country; and 
  • Promote dissemination, communication and use of M&E findings for improved policies, programmes and projects performance.

Action points to guide the implementation of the Policy

  1. Promote mainstreaming of cross-cutting issues namely: Gender, Youth, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Climate change and Human rights principles.
  2. Maintenance of a repository of all public sector M&E reports, which shall be accessible to all users. In addition, it shall facilitate dissemination of data and reports generated from public sector M&E to inform all stakeholders on the progress of implementation of policies, programmes and projects.
  3. Development of tools and methodology for M&E to be specified in the M&E tools and methods manual.
  4. Development of a Capacity Development Strategy to guide M&E capacity development in the country.
  5. Requirement for all Public sector institutions to submit timely and accurate progress reports of programmes and projects in line with approved indicators, reporting standards and formats. 
  6. Requirement for all public sector institutions to share their M&E reports to the public for knowledge sharing and learning. 
  7. To help entrench the culture of M&E in the public sector, an Incentive, Benefits and Sanctions Scheme shall be developed in line with the existing Public Service Excellence Award for rewarding institutions and individuals for adherence with the Policy.

NIMES Framework

In 2004, a governmentwide M&E system, the National Integrated Monitoring and Evaluation System (NIMES), was established and subsequently, the Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate was created to coordinate the system. The overarching goal of NIMES is to provide the government with a reliable mechanism to monitor and evaluate the implementation of public policies, programmes, and projects. 

Key institutions of NIMES Framework include: 

  1. National Steering Committee (NSC) – the highest Policy advisory body under the NIMES institutional arrangements. It comprises of members drawn from the national government, county government represented by Council of Governors, Controller of Budget, civil society, private sector and development partners.
  • Guiding the implementation of the Integrated Monitoring and Evaluation Systems at national and county levels;
  • Providing policy guidance and oversight to National Integrated Monitoring and Evaluation System;
  1. Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) –  the technical advisory organ in supporting NIMES operations. It approves work plans and tracks progress in their implementation and approves M&E reports before publication. 
  2. Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate (MED) – shall coordinate all monitoring and evaluation activities in the public sector.
  3. Technical Advisory Groups (TAG) – They provide guidance on the strategic areas of NIMES including Capacity Development and Policy Coordination, Research and Results Analysis and Dissemination for Advocacy and Sensitisation.
  4. Ministerial M&E Committees (MMECs) – MMECs are established in each ministry to coordinate M&E activities within the ministries, collect information and prepare M&E reports. 

The 2022 M&E Policy framework proposes new NIMES structures as well as roles and responsibilities for each of the implementers. This shall ensure proper coordination and facilitate complementarities and synergies in the monitoring, evaluation and ultimately improved delivery of public services.

Proposed Institutional arrangements for M&E Coordination, Implementation and Reporting

With a lifespan of 10 years, the National M&E Policy has lofty expectations to improve performance in the execution of public programmes and projects in the country as well as strengthen efficiency in utilisation of resources leading to speedy development in the country. President Ruto’s administration has pledged to overhaul the state of public service and the operations of the State, and adherence to the M&E Policy may prove to be a defining cornerstone of the Ruto administration.

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