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If you don't count, you don't count: monitoring and evaluation in South African NGOs.

Mueller-Hirth, Natascha



Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are increasingly challenged to demonstrate accountability and relevance, with reporting, monitoring and evaluation arguably having become development activities in their own right. Drawing on interviews and observation research, this article examines the impact of intensified monitoring and evaluation (M&E) requirements on a number of South African NGOs. M&E - and the types of expertise, vocabularies and practices it gives rise to - is an important area that is usually neglected in the study of NGOs but that significantly impacts on NGOs' logic of operation. By focusing on three areas - data that are considered appropriate to conduct M&E, staffing and organizational cultures, and NGOs' reformist relationships with other civil society organizations (CSOs) - M&E is revealed as a central discursive element in the constitution of NGOs appropriate to neoliberal development. By engaging a neo-Foucauldian framework of governmentality, M&E practices are thus understood as technologies through which governing is accomplished in the trans-scalar post-apartheid development domain.


MUELLER-HIRTH, N. 2012. If you don't count, you don't count: monitoring and evaluation in South African NGOs. Development and change [online], 43(3), pages 649-670. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 17, 2012
Online Publication Date May 17, 2012
Publication Date May 31, 2012
Deposit Date Jul 2, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jul 2, 2018
Journal Development and change
Print ISSN 0012-155X
Electronic ISSN 1467-7660
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 3
Pages 649-670
Keywords NGOs; South Africa; Reporting; Monitoring; Evaluation
Public URL


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