Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is one of the fast-growing areas in the public sector in Rwanda today. This is because of its critical role in ensuring effective programme design and implementation to enable the realisation of set objectives and targets.
However, M&E is one of the areas that lack sufficient personnel, who are adequately qualified and experienced.
This can be attributed to two main factors: the first factor is limited options available for practical training in M&E and, secondly, the lack of careers guidance for young professionals on how to build expertise and experience in M&E.
For the young and experienced professionals wishing to develop a career in M&E, the starting point is to initiate a career development discussion with reputed M&E practitioners and discuss the options for furthering their careers and qualifications in the medium and long-term.
Secondly, it is important to seek ways of advancing your qualifications and technical know-how both in the subject matter and practice. There are now a range of relevant certificate, diploma, bachelors, post-graduate diploma and master’s degree courses in M&E. Take time to explore the range of courses around you and beyond. Equip yourself with a body of knowledge through both formal study and mastering of concepts in order to practice M&E and advance to become an expert.
M&E is dynamic and cross-cutting, which requires one to read widely, conceptualise what is relevant to the work environment and develop a good grasp of the subject matter.
As a young practitioner, expose yourself to different M&E work environments so as to gain experience from different settings. This helps in strengthening your experience, work record and in developing professional relationships to become more marketable and employable.
Develop local and international networks and relationships with respected M&E practitioners, and learn from them all you can. These networks are good social capital for you during the course of your career. Develop trust, good relationships and the ability to work with people from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds.
And lastly, develop strong mentorship and coaching relationships. Young M&E practitioners are highly encouraged to cultivate formal and informal mentorship, as well as coaching relationships with successful and experienced M&E practitioners within and outside your area of practice. Mentorship and coaching arrangements are powerful tools in career advancement.
Finally, as a young M&E practitioner, always enjoy what you do, find a balance between work, personal development and social life, including family and friends. This is the only way to maintain passion for your work and be able to grow at professional and individual levels.
For institutions wishing to grow a team of qualified and experienced M&E experts, an investment in continuous capacity development using both classroom and on-job training is important. However, there are very few training solutions in M&E in the market that can provide practical courses that can be applied in the work environment.
This is one of the reasons PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Rwanda launched the PwC Business School recently. The Business School incorporates a Public Sector Academy that specialises in quarterly training programmes in M&E. This is an opportunity for public sector institutions to build practical skills in M&E.
The writer is a senior consultant for monitoring & evaluation, government and public sector at PwC Rwanda.