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Monitoring and Evaluating When Facing Complexity: Perspectives From a Practitioner-Led Initiative

Apr 25, 2013
institutional sponsor: 


Markets are not static, but in constant flux. Changes in markets are not predictable and often surprising, even after thorough market analysis and strategic planning. Interventions turn out results that were either unforeseen or unanticipated. This type of change creates specific challenges for monitoring and evaluation of development interventions. Changes in markets must be monitored and measured using approaches that embrace their dynamic and unpredictable nature. Advances in complexity sciences can provide useful principles and concepts to build a foundation and more relevant frameworks for monitoring and evaluating market and financial systems.

This session will feature insights from the SEEP Network’s Systemic M&E Initiative, a practitioner led initiative supported by USAID and fhi360 that has been exploring innovative ways to monitor and evaluate interventions in market and financial systems. These approaches have been inspired by insights from systems and complexity thinking. The session will begin with an introduction to systems and characteristics of complex adaptive systems, seen by many as a promising model to improve the effectiveness of development initiatives when facing complex realities in market systems. This part of the session will address questions such as: What exactly are systems? What are complex adaptive systems? What are the characteristics of such systems? Why are they relevant for inclusive market and financial development initiatives? The second part of the session will introduce seven principles for monitoring and evaluating complex systems, and illustrate their application through project cases taken from international development initiatives. The session will conclude with an outlook on planned activities by the Systemic M&E Initiative.


Marcus Jenal
Marcus Jenal
Marcus Jenal

Marcus Jenal has been working in internat

Marcus Jenal

ional development for nearly ten years.He been doing freelance work since 2011, and was invited by Mesopartner, a global consultancy firm with a focus on systemic economic development, to become an associate in 2012. Before that, he has been working in various positions in Swiss organizations, gathering experience in project management and implementation, coaching teams, and doing advocacy work. It is his goal to develop practical and effective approaches that help practitioners to recognize complexity and act develop effective interventions in the face of uncertainty. He wants to contribute to the development of healthy systems, where sustainable development is part of economy and society.

Market day in a Dogon village, Mali. Photo credit: HartmannMarket day in a Dogon village, Mali. Photo credit: HartmannMarcus JenalMarcus Jenal