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USAID Contribution

Discussion Note: Designing MEL Platforms


This Discussion Note shares practical approaches and considerations for designing monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) platforms in Missions. “MEL platforms” refer to the portfolio of institutional support mechanisms designed to build capacity within USAID Missions to collect, analyze, and use high quality data for strategic decision making and management functions. Although intended for USAID staff, others may benefit from its recommendations. The information used to compile this Discussion Note is based upon the insights of USAID staff interviewed as part of the 2016 MEL Platform Assessment as well as the experience of staff and partners of the USAID Office of Learning, Evaluation and Research (LER). 

Decision points outlined in this Note are organized in three sections:

Section 1: Starting the MEL Platform Design Process addresses common motivations for procuring a Platform and how to organize initial stakeholder/user needs assessments.

Section 2: General Design Considerations provides a framework for making critical decisions around a set of Decision Points.

Section 3: Design Considerations by MEL Function identifies options and trade-offs specific to each function: monitoring, evaluation, and/or collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA).

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