Participatory Monitoring and Learning (PM&L) is a process of collaborative review and problem solving, through the generation and use of information on a regular basis throughout the project cycle. It is a process that leads to corrective action or improvement within the project, based on the shared decision-making of a number of stakeholders.Action for Social Advancement (ASA) launched a pilot initiative that experimented with the Participatory Monitoring and Learning (PM&L) approach, within three World Bank assisted rural development projects in Madhya Pradesh, India - the District Poverty Initiative Project (MP-DPIP), Rural Women's Empowerment Project (Swash akti) and MP Forestry Project.The goal of the two-year World Bank-funded pilot was to field-test and fine-tune PM&L approaches that would improve participation of primary and secondary stakeholders within the project cycle. The pilot's overriding hypothesis was that PM&L can contribute to improved learning, participatory decision-making and better governance at all levels within a project, primarily at the community level. Ultimately, it enables a project to become innovative, bottom-up and demand-driven.The ASA PM&L initiative adapted a number of existing PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) tools to undertake monitoring and learning 'at the community level', within the three World Bank assisted projects in Madhya Pradesh. This Handbook presents a number of these tools, together with others synthesised from experiences of other organisations. It offers an overview of the kind of tools that are proving to be effective in PM&L processes.The Handbook provides facilitators with practical information on how to apply the tools. It is hoped that use of these tools in the field will further fine-tune them and also lead to the development of new tools.
Action for Social Advancement (ASA) is a nongovernment development organization in India that works for the livelihood enhancement of the rural poor in several districts of Madhya Pradesh, parts of Bihar, and Jharkhand. G. Jayanthi and Ashis Mondal are the founding members and directors of ASA. Janet Geddes and Utpal Moitra are associate consultants of ASA.