Practitioners are working in complex, rapidly changing environments. In order to 'get started', they have to come up with a working hypothesis: 'if we do x, then maybe y will follow, and then we hope to achieve z'. Clearly, that hypothesis will always be based on imperfect information and understanding; it is therefore particularly important to know, as events unfold, whether it is proving to be valid, needs to be adjusted or perhaps even abandoned.
The DCED Standard is a framework which helps practitioners to articulate the hypothesis very clearly, and to systematically set and monitor indicators which show whether events are occurring as expected. This empowers programmes to learn and adapt based on the monitoring data which they collect – which many would say is simply good management. Over 100 projects in more than 50 are currently implementing the DCED Standard, in sectors ranging from value chain development to challenge funds, to business environment reform
. These are shown in an interactive map which can be accessed here
Using the Standard in this way also helps programmes to measure results to a reasonable degree of rigour - to a better level of quality than many programmes. An independent audit service can inform donors and evaluators about the quality of the monitoring system.
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