Community Based Monitoring

Community- or citizen-based monitoring is a generic term for citizen oversight of public services. Also known as participatory monitoring, CBM is ideally led by the local population and involves both oversight and reporting of service quality, efficiency, and efficacy.

Problems and Purpose

Community-based monitoring (CBM) is often employed in an attempt to mitigate or reduce the 'local knowledge problem' whereby service providers are at a disadvantage compared to local residents in understanding and responding to community needs. By implementing a system of community oversight and feedback, service providers can better align their efforts to the specific needs of the community. CBM also gives the local population more control over the kinds of services being provided and introduces a level of popular oversight which can increase the efficiency and quality of those services. CBM is thus one of the most effective and low-cost forms of community capacity-building.

Origins and Development

Participant Recruitment and Selection

How it Works: Process, Interaction, and Decision-Making

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, CBM typically encompasses five stages: assessment, monitoring, evaluation, analysis, and presentation.[1] The extent to which each of these five stages is performed by the community or the service providers depends on several factors including funding, local infrastructure, and existing channels of public communication. 

Numerous tools are utilized to perform CBM, including community score cards, surveys, semi-structured interviews, participatory arts, and SWOL analysis, among others.[1]

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

Analysis and Lessons Learned

See Also

The Black Sash Model of Community Based Monitoring (CBM)


[1] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (1990). The community's toolbox: The idea, methods and tools for participatory assessment, monitoring and evaluation in community forestry.

External Links

NWT Water Stewardship - Community Monitoring