Download Now! Actions to Transform Food Systems under Climate Change

The 5Q approach

June 2015. Photos: G. Smith/CIAT.

Reducing hunger and poverty requires effective strategies but many traditional monitoring and evaluation methods are costly, complicated, rigid, slow, and do not include the opinions of the project beneficiaries. The 5Q approach is simple, adaptable, responsive, effective, and better integrates stakeholders. Project beneficiaries can proactively participate in programs for greater livelihood, health, and environmental gains. Developed in cooperation with CIAT

Investment outcome

The 5Q approach aims to simplify monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) methods, in order to improve transparency, mutual accountability, and the effectiveness of research and development projects. The fast, easy-to-use, and cost-effective approach offers something that traditional MEL methods don’t: project implementers receive quick feedback on their project in order to make adjustments during the project cycle. Project beneficiaries can proactively participate in programs that directly impact their lives, including throughout the project design, implementation, and evaluation processes, in order to have their needs better understood and met.

The challenge

Given the difficulty of reducing poverty and hunger and the plethora of strategies available towards this mission, it is critical to conduct objective and systematic evaluations of interventions, as well as to critically learn lessons gathered. But many traditional monitoring and evaluation methods are expensive, rigid, timely, and often fail to include the most important voice: those of the true stakeholders, like farmers and consumers, who are often geographically and culturally distant from most donor and implementing organizations, hard to reach, and diverse.

The opportunity

The 5Q approach can revolutionize M&E in development, making it responsive and effective, and ensuring mutual accountability and integration of stakeholders in a new way. Donors and implementers can be better connected to the beneficiaries. Research and development projects can be more flexible, adaptable, and impactful.

The strategy

The 5Q approach asks just 5 simple questions at regular intervals to each one of a project’s stakeholder groups (e.g., farmers, project implementers, and donors) and rapidly analyzes their answers to assess if the project is on track, and if not, adapt quickly. Answers are collected through a means best suited to each group, such as face-to-face surveys, mobile phone apps, web apps, and participatory video. Responses are automatically stored in a central database, processed, and disseminated through an online dashboard to visualize changes – for example in knowledge, attitude, skills, and practices – throughout the project cycle.


For more information please contact Anton Eitzinger, Spatial Analyst and Climate Change Scientist at CIAT.