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Mission-Based Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Platforms Assessment Report


In 2016, the Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) commissioned an internal stocktaking of USAID's mission-based MEL (Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning) Platforms. A MEL Platform is an implementing mechanism that provides a mission or other operating unit access to technical and advisory services to design and carry out various monitoring functions, (e.g., data collection and management); evaluations (including other studies or analyses); and/or collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) support functions, as a means to bolster a mission's monitoring, evaluation, and CLA efforts.

The Mission-Based Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Platforms Assessment Report (available on USAID’s Development Experience Clearinghouse), summarizes the key findings from the desk review of 55 MEL Platform SOWs (available as of April 2016) and key informant interviews and group discussions with 155 individuals associated with 30 of the 55 mechanisms. Those interviewed include staff from USAID missions, Platforms, activity implementing partners (IPs), and USAID/Washington.

A key finding from the assessment is that while Platforms can address bureaucratic challenges and provide ease of access to MEL talent, inclusive design and effective management are necessary to strengthen the use of good MEL practices. This and other findings were shared during a webinar in September 2017 and a joint event hosted by The Society for International Development (SID)/Washington Chapter and InterAction in October 2017.

Both events reviewed the highlights from the assessment, focusing on how to strengthen the management of MEL Platforms, and shared the best and most current USAID guidance relating to the Program Cycle. These resources are available for USAID staff and implementing partners on USAID’s Learning Lab website. Please visit the Monitoring, Evaluation, and CLA Toolkits for additional information.

The document was produced at the request of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It was prepared independently by Laura Arntson, Tonya Giannoni, Nancy Peek, and Kristin Saarlas under the Expanding Monitoring and Evaluation Capacities (MECap) task order, under contract number AID-OAA-M-14-00014. The authors' views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of Social Solutions International or the United States Agency for International Development. 

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