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Participatory Program Design, Monitoring & Evaluation

This four-day course delves into the essential elements of participatory assessments, program design, monitoring, evaluation, and learning.

You will build the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to create well-planned and evidence-based programs. By the end of the workshop, you will know how to address the major challenges facing service providers:

  • Deciding where to focus resources (is a project needed and what should it deliver?)
  • How to design projects that deliver meaningful change
  • How to track, improve and identify planned results
  • How to involve communities in design, monitoring and evaluation

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Who is this course for?

This intermediate-level course is ideal for practitioners and program managers who are responsible for implementing projects.

What will you learn?

  • Explore the principles of good project assessment, design, monitoring and evaluation, learning and reporting
  • Understand the tools and templates used for project design, monitoring and evaluation
  • Learn participatory approaches to conduct project assessment, design, monitoring and evaluation, learning and reporting activities
  • Build confidence and curiosity to make informed decisions about the right approach for different contexts

Our trainers provide a step-by-step process for engaging with key stakeholders, including communities directly affected by the project. They will identify ways to build participation into your program design, planning, monitoring and evaluation.

You will be introduced to models and frameworks for program design, monitoring and evaluation so that you can select the appropriate tools for your work.

You will become more confident to undertake assessments and design, monitor and learn from programs. You will also be able to make sound decisions based on solid planning principles, especially in emergency situations.

Pre-requisites and assumed knowledge

It is assumed course participants have some experience with designing or implementing projects, and some understanding of program design, monitoring and evaluation tools and templates.

You can use your own projects to work through course activities.


This course is facilitated by Bron McDonald and Viv McWaters, both of whom have a wealth of experience in program design, monitoring and evaluation, and participatory approaches.

Bron McDonald brings 19 years experience in leading, conducting and teaching others in the field of evaluation and monitoring. She has worked in primary industries research, development and extension, as well as public health, international development, environmental issues and resource sustainability. In her consultancy Bron specialises in meeting the challenges of surfacing and synthesising different forms of evidence and its utilisation in decision-making for complicated and complex programs.

Bron worked for five years in Vietnam, Indonesia and Scotland on evidence-based program design and delivery for policy implementation and large-scale evaluations on complex issues. This includes: evaluating the USAID Indonesia Forest and Climate Support project to inform a subsequent program; designing and evaluating the Mekong Delta Project for the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research; and designing and delivering an evaluation program in Vietnam.

Bron led the team that developed a program to build the evaluation capability of staff to design, implement or commission, manage and utilise evaluation. This capability building program and its training components has since been adopted in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Fiji.

Viv McWaters has worked in more than 35 countries; much of that work has been with humanitarian workers involved in disaster response and community-based monitoring and evaluation of local services. Viv has undertaken impact evaluations for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and has designed and delivered workshops for numerous organisations on outcomes-based decision making, theory of change, and monitoring and evaluation.

Her clients include Department of Primary Industries, Victoria; Citizen Voice and Action (a participatory advocacy program for World Vision); CIFOR, WorldFish and ACIAR. She has also held public Creative Facilitation workshops in Australia, the Netherlands and UK.

Viv's approaches are based on adult learning: action methods, sociometry, applied improvisation and 'habitable' games as developed by the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.

Course dates and locations

Participatory Program Design, Monitoring and Evaluation is offered once or twice a year and is non-residential. Participants make their own accommodation and transport arrangements. All course rates include training materials, lunch and morning and afternoon tea.

Upcoming course dates

Coming again soon.

PPDME course fees

Participant group Cost per participant
Government, corporate and other organisations $1,800
Individual members of the public $1,600
Full-time students $1,400
Australian Red Cross staff members and volunteers $1,400

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