Early Childhood Development (ECD): Selecting monitoring points from cradle to career

The Social Collective Use Case

Tips for structuring your ECD Data

ECD Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) can be intensive as this type of support is extremely difficult to quantify in terms of resource investment into an ECD program. Your program may dive deep into the full support cycle, which could include

Identify data workflows

Which data points can be tracked every day, or in total every month, in the same way? For this, pay special attention to the unit and the aggregate (total VS. average), as missing this will lead to double counting and misrepresent the program’s performance to its stakeholders.

The human element and the complexity of reporting on multi-donor funded programs

We have an unrealistic view of what it takes to make an impact and high expectations in terms of output vs input. We want the $1 we invested into a percentage of a child’s meal to help them become a successful accountant or lawyer in 20 years from now. 


We need to relook at the theory of change and view impact more realistically.  The human element comes into play, which complicates the situation.


Once we understand the nature of our engagement and the circumstances around our programs, we can then better understand input vs output. 

Another element to consider is that when you contribute to a feeding program, there are many other contributors and your funding only  makes up a percentage of that contribution. This complicates reporting on ROI, or cost per meal. But no need to worry, targets and math make this extremely easy.

Set a target

Start by setting achievable, easily understandable and clearly defined targets.


For each indicator, let each implementation partner or ECD centre know the exact number of meals you would like them to provide per day and what renovations to make at the facility. i.e. children at school in the classroom (x2 meals per day), teachers (2x per month), amount spent on renovations at the school ($X), etc.

Apply some run math to prove or disprove the count (SMART indicators)

Once the base numbers are correct, unlocking SMART indicators can allow you to automatically work out the figures that you need to, like the percentage increase, the division of two indicators, conversion into units and so on.

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