Most civil society organisations (CSOs) grapple with the difficulty of measuring and demonstrating impact. While many factors account for this, the inability of CSOs to institutionalise and make monitoring and evaluation (M&E) an integral part of the organisational architecture is one of the greatest impediments to track performance and demonstrate results effectively. Nonetheless, the ability to measure and demonstrate impact provides the raison d'etre for continuous donor funding/support and legitimacy of many CSOs in the global south. This assertion finds more credence in the ever-changing global milieu of international development cooperation, where funding partners in the global north are increasingly fixated on better results from their partners (CSOs in the global south) to justify the use of taxpayers' money for aid. In the face of this reality, CSOs may still find it extremely difficult to show the results or impact of their work without a robust system to provide a framework for M&E and learning activities.
This paper provides short practical steps to enable CSOs to set up, own their M&E system, and propel them on a path to achieving and measuring change. It shows in the end, with determination, CSOs can adopt and adapt an M&E system that is relevant to its context.