Monitoring and evaluation of irrigation projects has been a neglected subject, but must play a more important role in the future if the irrigation management process is to be improved. The process is complex, since a large number of regular, specific tasks must be performed, both concurrently and sequentially, and coordinated by a variety of professionals within available time and resource constraints. The paper points out the need for monitoring and evaluation, outlines the main requirements for a functional system, and provides a realistic framework for carrying it out. For any evaluation to be used, it must be credible—objective, accurate, and fair. Reports should be clear, unambiguous, balanced in terms of strengths and weaknesses, and contain justifiable conclusions and recommendations. For monitoring and evaluation to succeed, irrigation managers need to develop a new evaluative mind‐set that enables them to appraise their projects’ performance objectively, reflect on what has been learned for future use, and adjust policies on the basis of that knowledge whenever necessary.
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