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Community Contribution

Piloting Community Led M&E Initiatives in Rural Philippines

Sep 13, 2022
Rachael Sorcher, Elene Cloete, Nancy Bobadilla, Renan Penagunda & Community Leaders from Capaculan and Hagmang, Philippines

In 2022, Outreach International (OI) embarked on an initiative to figure out what works for our program and community partners in driving successful community-led M&E. Together, we launched several pilot initiatives to determine best practices. 

Who We Are, What We Do 

OI, based in Kansas City, MO, facilitates community-led development alongside nine international non-profits. One of these non-profits is Outreach Philippines Incorporated (OPI), for which two authors, Nancy and Renan, work. OPI, in turn, partners with community-based organizations (CBOs) to implement community-driven projects, including Samahan para sa Pagsulong at Pag-unlad ng Capaculan (SPPC) and Hagmang Interest Group, the organizations represented by community leader authors. 


SPPC and Hagmang collected baseline data to assess change following the first cycle of their community-led projects - a water and rice loan project, benefitting 399 and 40 households respectively. For the first time, with Nancy and Renan’s support, community leaders participated in workshops regarding survey development, data collection, and analysis using KoBoToolbox. They then set out and turned their learning into action. 

Our Top Tips 

Upon reflection between all contributors, these are our top tips for successful community-led M&E efforts. 

  1. Discuss the process: Keep your eyes on the prize  
    1. Through participatory conversations, ensure local leaders reflect on the importance of baseline data. If they appreciate its value, they will take initiative and care in the M&E process. 
  2. Consider and develop appropriate data collection tools: Step-by-step will get you there  
    1. Accessibly store usernames and passwords of online accounts. 
    2. Complete basic training in phone/computer literacy to utilize online survey tools, in this case KoBoToolbox.
    3. While KoBoToolbox is easy to navigate and use, create and follow a step-by-step guide for smooth survey development and data analysis activities. 
    4. Craft easily understandable questions.
    5. Anticipate respondents' range of answers and create response options accordingly.  
    6. Practice patience in the face of weak internet connection and a lengthy survey deployment process. 
  3. Pilot the survey: The good type of tests 
    1. Test the survey at least twice to ensure answers capture the intended information. 
    2. Make adjustments as needed. 
  4. Collect data: Time to own it
    1. Explain the survey’s purpose to community members, its importance to the project, and how it will benefit them. This will increase CBO members’ participation. For non-CBO members, it will help remove doubt of the group and the project. 
    2. Ask permission of the respondents to complete the survey. 
  5. Analyze the data: The results are in 
    1. Utilize KoBoToolbox’s pre-populated reports to guide analysis regarding the projects’ strengths and areas of improvement, while keeping in mind their limitations.
  6. Reflect and plan: A lot learned, a lot to celebrate 
    1. Collectively consider learnings from the process to help prepare for endline data collection and strengthen future M&E efforts. 
    2. Plan how to incorporate learnings into practice.
    3. Celebrate accomplishments! 

Community members and leaders can and want to collect data. But, this process will look different depending on context. Connect with us to share your community-led M&E top tips! 

About the authors

Nancy Bobadilla, mentor, trainer and practitioner, and Renan Penagunda have more than 30 years of combined experience in facilitating community-led development. 

Elene and Rachael are affiliated with Outreach International's Research and Advocacy Division.