A framework for monitoring social process and outcomes in environmental programs
Evaluation and Program Planning
Institute for Monitoring and Evaluation, Section of Organisational Psychology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, Cape Town 7701, South Africa
When environmental programs frame their activities as being in the service of human wellbeing, social variables need to be integrated into monitoring and evaluation (M&E) frameworks. This article draws upon ecosystem services theory to develop a framework to guide the M&E of collaborative environmental programs with anticipated social benefits. The framework has six components: program need, program activities, pathway process variables, moderating process variables, outcomes, and program value. Needs are defined in terms of ecosystem services, as well as other human needs that must be addressed to achieve outcomes. The pathway variable relates to the development of natural resource governance capacity in the target community. Moderating processes can be externalities such as the inherent capacity of the natural system to service ecosystem needs, local demand for natural resources, policy or socio-economic drivers. Internal program-specific processes relate to program service delivery, targeting and participant responsiveness. Ecological outcomes are expressed in terms of changes in landscape structure and function, which in turn influence ecosystem service provision. Social benefits derived from the program are expressed in terms of the value of the eco-social service to user-specified goals. The article provides suggestions from the literature for identifying indicators and measures for components and component variables, and concludes with an example of how the framework was used to inform the M&E of an adaptive co-management program in western Kenya. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
adaptive management; comanagement; community resource management; conceptual framework; conservation; ecosystem service; environmental planning; monitoring; social impact; environmental management; Kenya; cooperation; environmental health; environmental protection; human; Kenya; methodology; organization and management; policy; procedures; program evaluation; socioeconomics; sociology; Conservation of Natural Resources; Cooperative Behavior; Environmental Health; Humans; Kenya; Policy; Program Evaluation; Research Design; Social Sciences; Socioeconomic Factors