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Upshot explores the current M&E landscape on International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

Upshot explores the current M&E landscape on International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

Preeti Shetty, Head of Upshot, tells us why IDSDP 2017 is a seminal moment for the industry and one we must not be complacent about.

Our sector continues to evidence that sport has the ability to drive social change. The resultant impact is felt by individuals, and the communities in which they live, all over the world. That is a powerful testament to the work we do.

The change brought about by sport transcends physical, economic and social barriers. I’m proud to say that the work we help facilitate improves health, education, employment social justice and community cohesion. That’s a non-exhaustive list, of course!

Let me be candid with you just for a moment though: we must not be complacent. While we can extoll the virtues of sport as an antidote for a range of social issues, we must never do so without proof. Monitoring – knowing the who, what, where, when and why – needs to remain at the forefront of our approach.

In the sport for development world, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) has taken off in a big way in recent years. Rightly, funders and delivery organisations are paying greater attention to measuring the impact of their work. 

What was once confined to the ‘nice-to-have’ column on a budget is now a prerequisite. The proverbial ‘first name on the team sheet’, if you will! Such is the importance of getting the M&E right, external evaluators are being appointed and M&E is now integrated into most SDP projects at a programme’s design stage.

From experience, we know that M&E can be seen as daunting and complex. Allegedly, something that serves only as a distraction to ‘on-the-ground’ work and, frankly, only decipherable by those with a double-first in Rocket Science! That simply isn’t the case anymore. 

Awkward and inefficient spreadsheets have been superseded by technology that has embraced the user-friendly age, like Upshot.

When we talk about Monitoring and Evaluation in sport for development, and the wider third sector, we refer to it as the collection of information and data from projects and programmes, used to track results and provide accountability. This, in effect, is monitoring. 

Evaluation then is analysing this data to assess the results, processes and contextual factors to inform future practice, decision making and policy. The part that often gets missed out is the Learning – with a capital L! 

This is where we use the information gathered through M&E to reflect on our experiences, celebrate successes and improve our objectives. It is this triumvirate – Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning, or MEL for short – that form the basis of measuring true impact for any organisation committed to driving social change, sport-focused or otherwise.

Globally, the M&E landscape is changing. Governments and public bodies are placing increasing emphasis on sport’s role to deliver against social outcomes. Funders issuing capacity building grants, for the likes of impact measurement, are becoming the norm. CSR and ‘corporate global citizenship’ programmes need to communicate impact (not just generosity!) to stakeholders, senior leadership, employees, customers and the community.


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Preeti Shetty


Friday, April 7, 2017 - 14:39

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