(Written By: Allah Dad Khan and Junaid Hafeez)
To observe, supervise, or keep under review; to measure or test at intervals, especially for the purpose of regulation or control, or to check or regulate the technical quality of something.
Basic Concepts of Monitoring:
- Monitoring must be simple: A complex or complicated monitoring system is self-defeating. The basic task of monitoring is to simplify the field-level complexity, sifting the more important concerns from the less important.
- Monitoring must be timely: Timeliness is of the essence in monitoring. Management requires input from the monitoring system so that timely action may be taken. Also, timeliness is closely related to the credibility of monitoring itself.
- Monitoring must be relevant: It must concern itself only with parameters which are relevant to programme objectives. This also ensures that monitoring does not generate information that is not used or is not usable by management.
- Information provided through monitoring should be dependable: Management will rely on monitoring findings only if the information is believed to be reasonably accurate.
- Monitoring efforts should be participatory: Effort should be made to ensure participation by all concerned with extension, be they field-level personnel, subject-matter specialists, or extension’s clients (the farmers).
- Monitoring must be flexible: It is iterative in nature. It also gets routinized with the passage of time. These two features should not, however, lead to rigidity.
- Monitoring should be action oriented: Monitoring often leads to action. Consequently, it should follow pragmatic approaches, keeping the requirements of extension’s clients uppermost in view. Generating information for which there is no intended use should be assiduously avoided.
- Monitoring must be cost-effective: Monitoring efforts cost money and time. It is therefore essential to make it cost-effective. While principles of simplicity, time-lines, relevance, and accuracy will lead to cost-effectiveness, computerization also can help to make monitoring more cost-effective by reducing staff hours in data processing.
- Monitoring efforts should be top management oriented: Monitoring units should keep in mind the requirements of top management when designing and operating a monitoring system. Yet at the same time, monitoring must take into account the fact that those who provide information to the system also must benefit or the quality of the information provided will decline.
- Monitoring units represent specialized undertakings: Monitoring is not merely concerned with the collection and analysis of data, but with diagnosing problems and suggesting alternative practical solutions.
Mr. Allah Dad Khan is former DG Extension, KPK
Mr. Junaid Hafeez is Director, Agrihunt:
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