Improving poverty measurement in Sri Lanka

(From ELDIS Poverty Reporter)

Authors: Gunewardena,D.
Produced by: Centre for Poverty Analysis, Sri Lanka (2005)

Recently, conceptual advances in poverty measurement have been made:

  • acceptance of the multidimensionality of poverty
  • parallel use of monetary, capability, social exclusion and participatory approaches
  • better measurement of the dynamics of poverty and vulnerability
  • a rudimentary but growing agenda for the measurement of empowerment
  • empirical work comparing the results of different approaches
  • availability of non-traditional instruments of data collection

Reviewing studies that measure poverty in Sri Lanka, this paper finds that poverty measurement in Sri Lanka has also evolved considerably:

  • establishment of an official poverty line
  • adoption of the cost of basic needs (CBN) poverty measurement methodology by the Department of Census and Statistics
  • operationalising the multidimensionality of poverty via the human poverty index and multidimensional composite index
  • ne w survey instruments and methodologies
  • considerable data generation “capacity” of the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) and the Statistics Department of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL)
  • availability of a large amount of administrative data

However, there has not been much progress in measuring the dynamics of poverty, mainly because of a lack of panel data. Measurement of vulnerability and empirical work comparing the results of quantitative and qualitative approaches are also scarce. The existing data still has to be made into an information system and there is a lack of highly disaggregated data as well as data for the North and the East.

Given those weaknesses and strengths, the following steps toimprove poverty measurement, data generation and dissemination in Sri Lanka are proposed:

  • identifying user needs
  • developing appropriate equivalence scales to assign household expenditure to individuals
  • deriving relative and subjective poverty lines
  • constructing baseline datasets for the North and East
  • combining qualitative and quantitative methods of poverty analysis and data collection
  • making surveys consistent and comparable across time and instruments
  • introducing multi-topic surveys
  • generating panel data
  • publication of consistent and comparable poverty statistics
  • maintenance of an internet site with information on data for monitoring poverty
  • construction of public use data files from the Census and relevant household surveys

Available online at:

“Is Your Campaign Making A Difference”

…has just been published by the Campaigning Effectiveness Programme at NCVO

The book, written by Jim Coe and Ruth Mayne, seeks to advance the case that simple and effective monitoring and evaluation can, if implemented well, become a powerful tool for social and political change. It is aimed at campaigners and managers who are thinking of introducing monitoring and evaluation approaches within their campaign, or who are looking at ways of improving an existing approach.

Part 1 (available as a free download) provides an overview of the key elements of monitoring and evaluating campaigning, outlining some simple approaches. Part 2 looks in more detail at approaches to tracking outcomes, impact and ways of working. The final sections of the book consider how to design a coherent approach, with commentary on appropriate frameworks, tool and techniques.

Information available at

Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) Training Course

Date: 6-10 October
Venue: College of Europe, Bruges Campus, Belgium

Dear Colleague,

The College of Europe and Jacobs and Associates Europe invite you to participate in our 5-Day Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) Training Course on the principles, procedures, and methods of RIA. This practical, hands-on, course was given in March, and due to demand, will be offered two more times in 2008 — in June and October. The course, by the most experienced public policy and RIA trainers in Europe, is expressly designed for policy officials and executives who use RIA to improve policy results.

The course will benefit any official using RIA in environmental, social and economic fields as well as stakeholders such as business associations, NGOs and consultants who want to understand better how to use RIA constructively. The course is open for subscription worldwide and is presented in the historic city of Bruges, Belgium. A discount is offered for early registration.

Information on RIA Training Course

2008 DATES: 23-27 June and 6-10 October (each course is 5 full days)
LOCATION: College of Europe, Bruges Campus, Belgium
REGISTRATION : For more information and application form go to

  • €2,995 for early registration (includes housing and meals)
  • €3,495 for regular registration (includes housing and meals)


Early registration for the June course runs until 11 May 2008.
Registration closes 1 June 2008.

Early registration for the October course runs until 10 August 2008.
Registration closes on 14 September 2008.

OPEN : World-wide (only 40 seats available per session)
COURSE OFFERED BY: College of Europe and Jacobs and Associates Europe

The College of Europe provides a wide range of professional training courses, workshops and tailor-made seminars on the European Union in general or on targeted issues. For more information, please visit: or contact Mrs. Annelies Deckmyn by email:

Jacobs and Associates continues to offer its tailored RIA training courses on-site around the world, adapted to the client’s needs. To discuss an on-site RIA course, contact For information on the full range of regulatory reform work by Jacobs and Associates, see

Best wishes,
Scott Jacobs
Managing Director, Jacobs and Associates Europe

Amazon books on monitoring and evaluation

If you click through and buy any of these books MandE NEWS earns a small commission on the sale.

If you want to recommend other M&E books to be added to this list, use the Comment field below.

If you want to search for other M&E related books on Amazon, use the search facility at the bottom of this page.

Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in Development Organisations Sharing Training and Facilitation Experiences by John De Coninck et al, 2008

Monitoring and evaluation of soil conservation and watershed development project by Jan De Graaff, John Cameron, Samran Sombatpanit, and Christian J.M.G. Pieri, 2007

Creativity and Constraint: Grassroots Monitoring and Evaluation and the International Aid Arena (NGO Management & Policy)by Lucy Earle, 2004

Ten Steps to a Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation System: A Handbook for Development Practitionersby Jody Zall Kusak and Ray C. Rist, 2004

Who Benefits?: The Monitoring and Evaluation of Development Programmes in Central Asia (Occasional Papers) by Charles Buxton, 2004

Global Advances in HIV/AIDS Monitoring and Evaluation (JB PE Single Issue (Program) Evaluation) by Deborah Rugg, Greet Peersman, and Michel Carael, 2004

Toolkits: A Practical Guide to Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact Assessment (Save the Children Development Manuals.)by Louisa Gosling , Mike Edwards, 2003

Voices for Change: Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation in China by Ronnie Vernooy, Sun Qiu, and Xu Jianchu, 2003

Practical Guidelines for the Monitoring and Evaluation of Capacity-building: Experiences from Africa Rick James, 2001

The Monitoring and Evaluation of Empowerment: A Resource Document by Peter Oakley and Andrew Clayton, 2000)

Putting Policy into Practice: Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation in Ethiopia by Esther Mebrahtu, 2000

Learning from Change: Issues and Experiences in Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation by Marisol Estrella and et al, 1999

Participatory Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation for Fishing Communities: A Manual (Fao Fisheries Technical Papers, No 364) by Food and Agriculture Org, 1997

Monitoring and Evaluating Social Programs in Developing Countries: A Handbook for Policymakers, Managers, and Researchers by Joseph J. Valadez, and Michael Bamberger, 1994

Monitoring & Evaluation Made Easy – A Handbook for Voluntary Organisations HSMO Books, 1993

National Monitoring and Evaluation: Development Programs in the Third World by Peter Bowden, 1988

The monitoring and evaluation of participation in rural development by Peter Oakley, 1988

Project Monitoring and Evaluation in Agriculture by Dennis J. Casley, 1987

Search Amazon

Developing MSC training materials…

The objectives and the process

This page is intended as a public record of the development of Most Significant Change (MSC) training materials.

The aim is that interested people should be able to contact those listed below (via email to Rick Davies, or use the Comment box below) to get copies of their MSC training materials, on condition that:

  • they adapt this material to their own needs,
  • they then make copies of that adapted training material available to others, by adding their names to this list (along with the supporting information about their use of the training materials)

The descriptions given below of how people (described as “adapters”) are using the MSC training materials will be developed, so that others can find materials that seem nearest to their needs. But, all users of these materials will be expected to make further adaptations. And, at some stage in the future I may add a Commentary on the materials produced by different adapters. PS: For those interested in the background, the design of this process has been influenced by this paper.

The adapters (so far…):

  • Kaia Ambrose, Monitoring, Evaluation and Organizational Learning Manager, Programme Agreement, International Operations, CARE Canada, +1.613.228.5655, Canada
    • When they started adapting MSC training materials: May 2008
    • How they are using the MSC training materials:
      • Here’s how we’ll be using our adapted PPTs: The CARE Canada Programme Agreement will be gathering a group of project managers and M&E officers from CARE Country Offices to participate in a 5-day ‘telling the story’ workshop. We’ll be outlining different ways
        that projects can capture the change that happens in projects, both expected and planned for as well as unexpected and unplanned changes in order to tell a story of the social transformation process among key actors, project influence and support, and changes in project strategies and performance in order to support change. We will be looking at Most Significant Change as well as Outcome Mapping as tools to track change
        processes, or stories.
  • Nyarwaya Isaac, Managing Director, PM Associates, P.O.BOX 6866, Kigali, Rwanda, Tel. 08560622
    • When they started adapting MSC training materials: May 2008
    • How they are using the MSC training materials:
      • PM Associates;….does training, consultancy, research and publication mainly in the area of Project Management. The firm will add MSC to its portfolio of trainings provided. These trainings will be targeted to staff in NGOs and other international organizations that would like to adapt the use of MSC
  • Gaziul Hassan Mahmood, Technical Adviser – Program Quality, Save the Children in PNG
    • When they started adapting MSC training materials: May 2008
    • How they are using the MSC training materials
      • I will share the presentation I will prepare based on your resources. I will also share when I am planning that training.
  • Ivo Haenen, WASTE, Netherlands
    • When they started adapting MSC training materials: May 2008
    • How they are using the MSC training materials
      • Use it as basis for training WASTE’s programme partners in Latin America, Asia and Africa ” WASTE works towards sustainable improvement of the urban poor’s living conditions and the urban environment in general
  • Taline Haytayan, Knowledge Sharing Advisor, International HIV/AIDS Alliance, UK.
    • When they started adapting MSC training materials: May 2008
    • How they are using the MSC training materials:
      • “…to use MSC training material in our HIV AIDS Stigma and discrimination programme in a number of countries in Africa. We would like to adapt the MSC methodology in order to capture stories from stigma trainers, their experiences, lessons learned and changes encountered via the programme”
  • Emma Brathwaite, Technical Advisor Adolescent Health, Nossal Institute for Global Health, The University of Melbourne, 187 Grattan Street, Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Tel: +61 3 8344-0909. Fax: +61 3 8344-9130
    • When they started adapting MSC training materials: May 2008
    • How they are using the MSC training materials:
      • I am providing TA to Aceh Partnerships in Health (APiH) which has a number of theme areas (HIV, adolescent health, disability, mental health) and our in-country partners have expressed difficulties in monitoring change which is why MSC has been of interest. We are in the very early stages of this process so I would be very interested to look at these powerpoints.
  • Cecil Laguardia, Communications Manager/TD Communications Pilot Project, World Vision Asia Pacific Region, Mobile: +639184355243/ skype: cecil_laguardia, Bangkok
    • When they started adapting MSC training materials: May 2008
    • How they are using the MSC training materials:
      • We followed the presentations according to the original documents but what we have strengthened is the actual community story-telling activity using the process to generate communications resources and look into the impact of the projects.
        I would be happy to receive new training materials from you. We still have several projects scheduled for training and it will be good for us to keep improving the process.
  • An Sokchea…. working in World Vision Cambodia as a Learning for Transformation (LfT) Technical Officer, Cambodia
    • When they started adapting MSC training materials: May 2008
    • How they are using the MSC training materials:
      • My job responsibility is to learn about MSC and adapt it as a development tool for World Vision ministry. … [new training resources] would be helpful for me to understand more and to find the way to adapt/refine it in Cambodia context.
  • Dr Sani Aliou Assistant Country Director Programmes Concern Worldwide Rwanda Kigali, Rwanda
    • When they started adapting MSC training materials: May 2008
    • How they are using the MSC training materials:
  • Ms Elizabeth REID, Visiting Fellow, Gender Relations Centre & Human Geography, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra
    • When they started adapting MSC training materials: June 2008
    • How they are using the MSC training materials:
  • Tim OShaughnessy, an Australian M&E specialist based in Fiji,
  • A.F.M. Nezam Uddin, Programme Officer: Planning, Monitoring & Knowledge Management, Save the Children, Sweden-Denmark, House: 9, Road:16, Gulshan: 1, Dhaka-1212, Bangladesh
  • Mike Idah, unknown organisation and location
  • Thomas K. Nyagah. I am the Design,Monitoring and evaluation officer, Christian Community services -ACK- KENYA.
    • We have used the MSC for 4 years now and fruits are rewarding. I have also trained many local NGO in Kenya.

How you can participate…

  • You can add your name to the list of adapters. If you want to do this then say so via the Comment box below, or email I will then send you my PowerPoints for you to adapt
  • You can ask for copies of the PowerPoints adapted by the adapters listed above. If you want to do this then say so via the Comment box below, or email

Dont forget…

There is another MSC blog specifically dedicated to developing, sharing and improving different language translations of the MSC Guide, at . Work is in progress on translations into at least eight different languages.

The vision

From something like this

To something more like this


Bob Williams and Iraj Imam (eds.)
EdgePress/American Evaluation Association (2007)

Systems Concepts in Evaluation: An Expert Anthology brings
together a wide range of systems concepts, methodologies and
methods and applies them to evaluation settings. This book
addresses the questions:

• What is a systems approach?
• What makes it different from other approaches?
• Why is it relevant to evaluation?

The 14 chapters cover a wide range of systems concepts and methods. Most chapters are case study
based and describe the use of systems concepts in real life evaluations. The approaches and methods
covered include:

• System Dynamics (both quantitative and qualitative)
• Cybernetics and the Viable System Model
• Soft Systems Methodology
• Critical Systems Thinking
• Complex Adaptive Systems

There are also overview chapters that explore the history and diversity of systems approaches and their
potential within the evaluation field. There is a substantial introduction by Gerald Midgley to the key
developments in systems concepts and methods over the past 50 years, and this explores the
implications for evaluation of each of those developments.

Although focused on evaluation, the book is a valuable source for anyone interested in systems concepts,
action research and reflective inquiry. It is useful for both teaching and practice.

Chapters :
Introduction, Iraj Imam, Amy LaGoy, Bob Williams and authors
Systems Thinking for Evaluation, Gerald Midgley
A Systemic Evaluation of an Agricultural Development: A Focus on the Worldview Challenge,
Richard Bawden
System Dynamics-based Computer Simulations and Evaluation, Daniel D Burke
A Cybernetic Evaluation of Organizational Information Systems, Dale Fitch, Ph.D.
Soft Systems in a Hardening World: Evaluating Urban Regeneration, Kate Attenborough
Using Dialectic Soft Systems Methodology as an Ongoing Self-evaluation Process for a
Singapore Railway Service Provider, Dr Boon Hou Tay & Mr Bobby, Kee Pong Lim
Evaluation Based on Critical Systems Heuristics, Martin Reynolds
Human Systems Dynamics: Complexity-based Approach to a Complex Evaluation, Glenda H
Eoyang, Ph.D.
Evaluating Farm and Food Systems in the US, Kenneth A Meter
Systemic Evaluation in the Field of Regional Development, Richard Hummelbrunner
Evaluation in Complex Governance Arenas: the Potential of Large System Action Research,
Danny Burns
Evolutionary and Behavioral Characteristics of Systems, Jay Forrest
Concluding Comments, Iraj Imam, Amy LaGoy, Bob Williams and authors


NAME : Systems Concepts in Evaluation : An Expert Reader
EDITORS : Bob Williams and Iraj Imam
PAGES : 222pp

ISBN 978-0-918528-22-3 paperback
ISBN 978-0-918528-21-6 hardbound


EdgePress/American Evaluation Association (2007)


Available via Amazon : Hardback only. $US36 plus postage

Negotiated Learning: Collaborative Monitoring for Forest Resource Management

(via Pelican email list)

Dear all

Niels has asked me to make you aware of a new publication that some
‘Pelican-ers’ might find relevant.

I have edited a book on how learning and monitoring can become better
‘friends’ than is currently usually the case. The book comes off the press
tomorrow. The full reference: Guijt, Irene, ed. (2007). Negotiated
Learning: Collaborative Monitoring for Forest Resource Management
Washington DC, Resources for the Future/Center for International Forestry
Research. Although the cases in the book focus on natural resource (forest)
management, the issues about how to create genuine learning through the
construction, negotiation and implementation of a monitoring process will
have much wider relevance.

Full details on how to obtain the book can be found at : ,
where the book is described as follows :

“The first book to critically examine how monitoring can be an effective
tool in participatory resource management, Negotiated Learning draws on the
first-hand experiences of researchers and development professionals in
eleven countries in Africa, Asia, and South America. Collective monitoring
shifts the emphasis of development and conservation professionals from
externally defined programs to a locally relevant process. It focuses on
community participation in the selection of the indicators to be monitored
as well as in the learning and application of knowledge from the data that
are collected. As with other aspects of collaborative management,
collaborative monitoring emphasizes building local capacity so that
communities can gradually assume full responsibility for the management of
their resources. The cases in Negotiated Learning highlight best practices
but stress that collaborative monitoring is a relatively new area of theory
and practice. The cases focus on four themes: the
challenge of data-driven monitoring in forest systems that supply multiple
products and serve diverse functions and stakeholders; the importance of
building upon existing dialogue and learning systems; the need to better
understand social and political differences among local users and other
stakeholders; and the need to ensure the continuing adaptiveness of
monitoring systems.”

PS: Links to full texts of some chapters






Learning by Design

Bredeweg 31, 6668 AR Randwijk, The Netherlands
Tel. (0031) 488-491880 Fax. (0031) 488-491844

Stories of Significance: Redefining Change – An assortment of community voices and articulations

(via the AIDS Alliance India website)

“A report based on an evaluation of a programme on “Community Driven Approaches to Address the Feminisation of HIV/AIDS in India” by means of the ‘Most Significant Change’ Technique: Using the participatory evaluation technique, Most Significant Change (MSC), this report derives its findings from the MSC evaluation of work from Alliance India’s recently concluded DFID -supported programme on community-driven approaches for addressing the feminisation of HIV/AIDS in India. The MSC technique is a participatory monitoring tool based on gathering and analysing stories of important or significant changes from a cross-section of target groups, to provide a richer picture of the impact of programme interventions. This document is written in a lucid manner and contains many new insights for the purposes of learning for future programming in relation to sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS integration and HIV/AIDS programming for women.”

(English) Stories of Significance Redefining Change.pdf

For information about how to get a printed copy of this report, please contact: India HIV/AIDS Alliance