Room to Read is committed to the highest quality programs that provide the greatest benefits to children in the developing world. We make substantial investments in Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RM&E)–investments in people, in systems, and in doing the actual work of research, monitoring and evaluating that ensures program quality.
Room to Read conducts research, monitoring and evaluation of our programs on an ongoing basis to:
- Track project information to ensure that we work effectively toward our goals and objectives.
- Identify strengths and weaknesses to inform program decisions and make timely improvements.
- Provide accurate and timely information about progress toward desired objectives to our stakeholders.
- Investigate opportunities to understand our program environment and improve our ongoing program implementation and future program planning.
Our in-country staff and partners visit our programs regularly to gather information about program effectiveness, provide support to schools and communities, and highlight areas for future improvement. We use a variety of methods, such as interviews and surveys with key stakeholders, such as students and teachers, to carry out our monitoring activities.
Room to Read collects a variety of program accomplishment and performance measures to assess progress towards our program objectives. We collect this information to help us assess the status of implementation and the results of all of our programs. We analyze this data using our project database and use the results of the analysis to improve program planning and implementation.
At the end of each year, we collect information on these program performance measures for all of our programs. We combine the results of this data collection and analysis effort with the insights and experiences of our Country Offices to inform our planning and implementation process.
In 2008, we also conducted in-depth monitoring of our School Room program, visiting every school and constructed library that we built from 2000-2007 to assess the conditions of the buildings at these project sites. For more information, please download the 2008 Monitoring Report.
Room to Read conducts periodic evaluations to assess the results of our programs. In 2005 we conducted our first external evaluation of five programs (School Construction, School Libraries, Girls' Education, Computer Room and Language Room) in four countries (Cambodia, India, Nepal and Vietnam) to assess program effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. For further information, please download a summary of the 2005 Independent Monitoring & Evaluation Study.
In 2007, each Room to Read country in Asia conducted evaluations of the School Libraries and Book Publishing programs, designed by our in-country M&E Program Officers in collaboration with our in-country program teams. For further information, please download a summary of the 2007 School Libraries and Book Publishing Evaluations (formerly Reading Room and Local Lanugage Publishing)
In 2009, we began an externally-led cross-national evaluation of our School Libraries program to assess the impact of our current program activities on student habits and attitudes toward reading. This evaluation started in Laos, Nepal, and Zambia, and expanded to India, Sri Lanka, and South Africa in 2010. For further information, please download the School Libraries Cross-National Evaluation (year 1) fact sheet. Also in 2009, we conducted a process evaluation of our School Construction program to measure the effectiveness of our internal program processes and to highlight how we can improve our program implementation.
Also in 2011, we began planning for an externally-led evaluation of our Girls’ Education program. The four-year evaluation, which will take place in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Zambia, will examine program implementation and progress towards desired program outcomes.
In 2011, Room to Read launched its formal research activities. Its first major activity was “Through Their Eyes, In Their Voices,” a collaborative research study that investigated the factors that help young women from economically disadvantaged backgrounds succeed in tertiary education. Conducted with support from The MasterCard Foundation, Room to Read, FHI 360 and Amenons Nos Filles á l’Ecole (ANFE), the report was featured at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative.
Also in 2011, Room to Read launched an internal study of our School Libraries program that examines the sustainability of libraries established between 2004-2007 in Cambodia, Nepal, and South Africa.
In 2012, we completed the first phase of our Reader Preferences Study, which investigates primary school children’s preferences in books and reading. Taking place in Cambodia, the study confirmed the high quality of Room to Read’s published books. For more information, please download the “Assessing Reading Interests and Preferences of Primary School Students” research brief.
We are now completing an internal study of our Girls’ Education program, which examined the challenges and success of alumnae of this program in Cambodia, India, Nepal, and Vietnam.
If you have further questions regarding research, monitoring and evaluation, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions.