Within 90 days of an activity being awarded, the Activity Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Plan is drafted. Unlike a Performance Management Plan (PMP) or Project MEL Plan, the Activity MEL Plan is typically written by the implementing partner then reviewed and approved by USAID. It is the CORs/AORs responsibility to review, collaborate on any necessary changes, and finally approve the plan. After approval, the Activity MEL Plan should evolve and adapt alongside the activity work plan, being updated at regular intervals based on what has been learned to date.
An Activity MEL Plan also needs to include additional monitoring approaches unique to that specific activity, reflective of the activity’s programmatic approach, operational context, and management needs.
As Activity MEL Plans are used by USAID’s partners to guide efforts and by USAID to manage the activity, it is important that these plans clearly detail how the partner will monitor performance as well as programmatic and operational context. Beyond including a Performance Indicator Reference Sheet (PIRS) for each performance indicator, the plan should identify how data will be collected and stored and how data quality will be ensured, among other important topics. The Activity MEL Plan should also include information on the activity’s Evaluation Plan and Learning Plan.