M&E System

GEI’s Systems Approach to M&E

What do we mean by an M&E System?

When we talk about GEI’s focus on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) “systems” we do not mean just the feedback systems that may guide program implementation or discrete evaluation studies that may be done.

What we mean is a country’s overall ecosystem around M&E - all the structures, attitudes, incentives, approaches, policies, laws, behaviors, skills and abilities that contribute to whether robust monitoring, evaluation and evidence use happens.

Why Use a Systems Approach?

Improving the use of evidence for decision-making in developing countries requires complex thinking that moves beyond disconnected interventions to an approach that addresses the dynamic, interconnected real-world context of monitoring, evaluation and evidence use in each country.

A systems-approach tries to understand the whole picture. It explores the broader context, studies interactions between system stakeholders, acknowledges that certain shifts happen over time, and encourages collaboration between a variety of system participants.

Our work with countries

In many developing countries, evaluation and monitoring functions are not institutionalized. Countries also lack organizational and individual capabilities to use these functions. For example, while many national development strategies explicitly refer to the Sustainable Development Goals, only 35% of them have actual systems to track data and monitor performance.

Although there is interest and demand from countries for robust monitoring and evaluation functions at all levels of government, there are a variety of obstacles that keep this from happening such as an absence of a supportive legal and regulatory environment to create demand for M&E services; insufficient capacities to procure, provide, and use evaluations; negative attitudes around the role of monitoring and evaluation in public policy; and, weak accountability mechanisms for the use of evidence, among other challenges.

GEI System


Governments make important decisions every day on a range of issues such as budgetary matters; the design and execution of programs; projects and strategies; taxation; investment; and legislation. These decisions are based on information acquired from multiple sources – both formal and informal.

Many governments have realized that basing decisions on good evidence and data – showing what has worked well – is crucial from the standpoint of efficiency, efficacy, accountability, transparency and good governance. And it is the approach that works best to improve peoples’ lives.

But how do they do it? How do they create or strengthen their countries’ capacity to support robust monitoring and evaluation functions and processes that will help guide their decisions?

That is where the GEI network steps in.

Helping developing countries improve monitoring and evaluation systems is not an easy task. It requires special skills, expertise, on-the-ground experience, and strong partnerships. The GEI network’s organizations and specialists in the field of monitoring and evaluation collaborate to help countries improve their M&E systems by:

Conference view

Providing country governments with diagnostic, technical, and other advisory support services

GEI works closely with developing country governments that seek to improve or strengthen monitoring, evaluation and the use of evidence in their countries. Applying GEI’s integrated systems-based approach, we provide diagnostic, technical, and other advisory support services to help governments at every step on this journey. From helping governments define needs, goals and opportunities, to suggesting solutions tailored to the local context, to supporting implementation.

Strengthening the capacities of policymakers, evaluators, and other M&E professionals

Through a range of training, learning and professional development activities, GEI equips government decision-makers, evaluators and other M&E stakeholders with the tools and skills required to understand the role of M&E and evidence in decision-making; to gather, analyze, and use evaluative knowledge; to conduct evaluations; and to better manage and use M&E systems.

Women collaborating during a workshop
Photo of two IPDET's attendees

Developing, Curating and Amplifying Knowledge on M&E

GEI captures and curates innovative M&E knowledge as well as practical on-the-ground experience - sharing it globally and locally. We facilitate knowledge transfer across geographic and cultural boundaries, especially focusing on South-South exchange and how to adapt global lessons and best practices to local contexts. GEI seeks to become a global resource for local and global M&E knowledge.



Reduce fragmentation and CATALYZE collaboration & partnerships

A key role of GEI is to create connections between separate M&E efforts. We catalyze strategic partnerships between governments, donors, evaluation professionals and other key M&E stakeholders to encourage efficiency, identify best practices, and ensure progress.


SCALE & ADAPT successful approaches

Many GEI partners have decades of experience delivering technical, advisory, and training services or programs in support of national M&E systems. The close collaboration of GEI network members allows successful approaches to be surfaced and implemented in other countries or regions, where they can be adapted to local needs.


INSPIRE & INCUBATE new solutions

The diverse, global expertise of the GEI network allows for collaboration and exploration of new areas of innovation around M&E. GEI supports the creation of new approaches and incubates promising solutions not yet fully tested. Programs like the Taqyeem Arabic language training program and the Launchpad entrepreneurship mentoring program are examples of this effort.


MOBILIZE action on critical issues, like gender and climate change

Monitoring & evaluation has an essential role to play in ensuring that development programs and policies reflect critical issues affecting the world today. The GEI network works together to identify and share lessons learned around the intersection of M&E and gender, climate change, FCV (Fragility Conflict & Violence) and youth, integrating best practices into its strategic efforts.

Who we collaborate with

GEI Ecosystem