A Year in Review of 34 New and Refreshed Tools at Your Fingertips!

Nov 8, 2021 by Gabrielle Boutemy, Lauren Leigh Hinthorne, and Sarah Allen, USAID Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning, Office of Learning, Evaluation and Research Comments (0)
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USAID’s policies related to planning, delivering, assessing, and adapting development programming were updated one year ago as part of an effort to streamline implementation processes. Since then, USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning has worked to revisit and refresh 34 tools that can help Agency staff and partners with best practices around the Program Cycle.

You can find these tools in the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) toolkits on Learning Lab. While the policy revisions prompted the toolkit updates, the new and improved tools reflect the latest thinking around best practices in these areas. Highlights from these toolkit updates include:

  • Monitoring Toolkit | Conduct a Data Quality Assessment (DQA) How-To Note: Revised to include guidance on remote DQAs and the relationship between Performance Management Plans (PMPs) and DQAs.

  • Evaluation Toolkit | Evaluation Statement of Work (SOW) Checklist and Review Template: Two tools in one document created to assist in developing and reviewing USAID Evaluation SOWs. The checklist provides a quick guide to understanding the minimal standards for an Evaluation SOW, while the Review Template provides additional criteria for assessing the quality of the SOW during a peer review. Users will find new subsections dedicated to impact evaluation-related policy changes in the Evaluation Questions, Purpose, Data Collection and Analysis, and Deliverables sections of the checklist. 

  • CLA Toolkit | Adaptive Management Discussion Note: Updated to align with the 2020 ADS 201 changes, in particular the change that projects are now optional. In addition, the discussion note includes clarifying edits and a link to an updated list of relevant resources on ProgramNet.

  • CLA, Monitoring, and Evaluation Toolkits | Performance Management Plan How-To Note:  Revised to align with streamlined ADS 201 PMP requirements to integrate the contents of the PMP into one cohesive monitoring, evaluation, and CLA plan for addressing learning priorities. In addition, revisions account for Project MEL Plans no longer being required, changes to performance indicator requirements, and changes that allow the PMP to link to other documents or databases.

  • CLA, Monitoring, and Evaluation Toolkits | Activity MEL Plan How-To Note and Template: Revised to include a new section for the beneficiary feedback plans requirement that was added to ADS 201. In addition, there is a new section that speaks to the relationship between Activity MEL Plans and other plans (Data Management Plans required by ADS 579 and Quality Assurance Surveillance Plans).

The 2020 policy updates to USAID’s operational model for programming are the result of a productive feedback loop between implementation and policy at USAID. Policy guides good practice and good practice informs policy. Explore the list of updated tools below, and keep that feedback loop strong by reaching out to [email protected] with feedback.

Toolkit

Resource

CLA

Incorporating CLA in Solicitations

CLA

Incorporating CLA in the Procurement Process

CLA

Incorporating CLA in Activity Management

CLA

How To Note: Country Development Cooperation Strategy Mid-Course Stocktaking

CLA

Discussion Note: Adaptive Management

Evaluation

Evaluation Toolkit: Conducting An Evaluability Assessment

Evaluation

Evaluation Toolkit: Choosing Between a USAID External or Internal Evaluation

Evaluation

Designing MEL Platforms

Evaluation

Ex-Post Evaluation Discussion Note

Evaluation

Evaluation Management Process Checklist

Evaluation

Evaluation SOW Checklist and Review Template

Evaluation

Technical Note: Impact Evaluations

Evaluation

Discussion Note: Managing MEL Platforms

Evaluation

Sample Form for Disclosure of Real or Potential Conflict of Interest

Evaluation, CLA

Submitting a USAID Evalution to the DEC

Monitoring

Standard Foreign Assistance Indicators and USAID Performance Indicator Reference Sheet (PIRS) Cross Walk

Monitoring

Monitoring Toolkit: Data Collection Methods and Tools for Performance Monitoring

Monitoring

Monitoring Toolkit: Performance Indicator Baselines

Monitoring

Activity MEL Plan How-To Note

Monitoring

Template: Performance Indicator Summary Table

Monitoring

PMP Schedule of Performance Tasks and Associated Resources (+ Template)

Monitoring

Additional Help DQA Checklist

Monitoring

Additional Help: Data Disaggregation by Geographic Location

Monitoring

Additional Help: Disaggregating Monitoring Indicators

Monitoring

Monitoring Toolkit: Selecting Performance Indicators

Monitoring

Monitoring Toolkit: Monitoring Organizational Capacity Development Efforts

Monitoring

Monitoring Toolkit: CIRS Template

Monitoring

Monitoring Toolkit: Performance Indicator Targets

Monitoring

Discussion Note: Third-Party Monitoring in Non-Permissive Environments

Monitoring

How To Note: Conduct a Data Quality Assessment

Monitoring, CLA

How To Note: Planning and Conducting Site Visits

Monitoring, Evaluation

Activity MEL Plan Template

Monitoring, Evaluation, CLA

How-to Note: Prepare & Maintain a Performance Management Plan

Monitoring, Evaluation, CLA

Discussion Note: Complexity-Aware Monitoring

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Gabrielle Boutemy is a Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist with the Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL), Office of Learning, Evaluation and Research (LER).

Lauren Leigh Hinthorne, PhD, is a Knowledge Management & Organizational Learning Advisor with PPL/LER.

Sarah Allen is a Performance Monitoring Specialist with PPL/LER.

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