The near collapse of the public extension service in South Africa and the efforts currently under way to develop and implement recovery plans, call for actions that have significant and immediate results. Based on the assumed important role that monitoring and evaluation (M&E) can play in the improvement of current and future extension, this article is concerned with the development of an appropriate policy in this regard.
For such a policy to be appropriate and acceptable at the operational level, a total of 324 front line extension workers and managers (a total of 324 and representing a 30 percent sample) were involved in group interviews in which their views were captured in semi-structured questionnaires after making use of nominal group and Delphi techniques.
The article gives an overview of the perceived need for and importance of monitoring and evaluation as well as what should be the most important criteria and ingredients of an effective monitoring and evaluation policy for extension in the Limpopo Province; the most important of which pertain to the development of a unit (initially a working group) at provincial level taking responsibility of the further development and fine tuning of an M&E policy and its implementation. Recommendations relating to specific issues of monitoring and evaluation include : increased monitoring through continuous evaluation of behaviour determinants, setting a maximum rather than a minimum of objectives and encouraging accountability not only to management but also to local institutions and beneficiaries.