The term M & E is often used as if Monitoring and Evaluation mean the same thing. In a strictly technical sense, Monitoring is the provision of information and the use of that information to enable management assess the progress of implementation and take timely decisions to ensure that progress is maintained according to schedule. Monitoring assesses whether programme/project inputs are being delivered and, are being used as intended and are having the initial effects as planned. Monitoring is therefore an internal programme/project activity, an essential part of good management practice, and therefore an integral part of day to day management.
On the other hand, Evaluation assesses the overall programme/project effects, both intentional and unintended and their impact. It involves requiring information from outside the project either in time, area or population.
Evaluation aims to determine whether the programme/project objectives set in terms of expected outputs, effects and impact are being or will be met. This leads to an assessment of the results achieved, and lessons to be drawn for future improvements in a later phase of the programme/ project or similar programmes/projects elsewhere.