Key Steps for Effective MEL

  1. Create theory of change:
  2. Develop a “living” log-frame.
  3. Allocate sufficient budget and staff resources for MEL.
  4. Review program logic at program kickoff.
  5. Develop a complete MEL plan / system.
  6. Incorporate M&E into program work plans.
  7. Collect baseline data.
  8. Establish accountability mechanism.
  9. Track activities and conduct routine monitoring.
  10. Conduct regular, participatory, reflection meetings.
  11. Document and share updates.
  12. Conduct a final evaluation.
  1. Document, discuss and share lessons learned.

Key steps to effective MEL:

13 steps to ensure M&E leads to adaptive management, evidence and learning!

  1. 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.

  1. Conduct regular, participatory, reflection meetings:

Focus on program logic and use all available information and data to test and adapt that logic.

  1. Document and share updates:

Make sure program changes, updates and results are documented and shared with the appropriate stakeholders – including beneficiaries.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Key Steps for Effective MEL
Scroll to top