- Create theory of change:
- Develop a “living” log-frame.
- Allocate sufficient budget and staff resources for MEL.
- Review program logic at program kickoff.
- Develop a complete MEL plan / system.
- Incorporate M&E into program work plans.
- Collect baseline data.
- Establish accountability mechanism.
- Track activities and conduct routine monitoring.
- Conduct regular, participatory, reflection meetings.
- Document and share updates.
- Conduct a final evaluation.
- Document, discuss and share lessons learned.
Key steps to effective MEL:
13 steps to ensure M&E leads to adaptive management, evidence and learning!
- Create theory of change:
Create a diagram of casual linkages that explain the program login in a visual way.
- Develop a “living” log-frame:
Convert “theory of change” into a logical framework, including indicators and key assumptions. Remember this plan will be adapted based on what you measure and learn.
- Allocate sufficient budget and staff resources for MEL:
Consider the measurement implications in the log-frame to determine appropriate budget and staff. Rule of thumb is 5-10% of program budget for MEL.
- Review program logic at program kickoff:
Ensure that program logic and key M&E tools are carefully reviewed by program and M&E staff and stakeholders if appropriate, before implementation begins.
- Develop a complete MEL plan/system:
Developing a complete MEL plan for the program, including indicator tracking, assumption monitoring and quality assurance. Identify data collection and management tools and systems.
- Incorporate MEL into program work plans:
Ensure that plans for M&E activities are included in program / project work plans and schedules.
- Collect baseline data:
Collect baseline data on indicators as appropriate.
- Establish accountability mechanisms:
Establish a plan for managing accountability to key stakeholders – especially beneficiaries.
- Track activities and conduct routine monitoring:
Implement routine data collection processes, racking indicators, assumptions, and quality, and look for ways to monitor outcomes as well.
- Conduct regular, participatory, reflection meetings:
Focus on program logic and use all available information and data to test and adapt that logic.
- Document and share updates:
Make sure program changes, updates and results are documented and shared with the appropriate stakeholders – including beneficiaries.
- Conduct a final evaluation:
Final evaluation can be simple (final indicator status) or complex (impact evaluation) or somewhere in between, but we need to account for the results of our work.
- Discuss, document, and share lessons learned:
Lessons learned should be drawn out throughout the program lifecycle, but be sure these are completely considered, stored and shared at program end.