The MEL Process
In 2010 Prof Rachel Thibeault , head of the department of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa University in Canada, offered to help us initiate a process of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL in short). We were delighted and grateful. Prior to the designing and implementing a MEL system, a careful analysis of the organisation and the context in which it will unfold is required. This request was followed by the selection of a doctoral student (Marie Grandisson) at the University of Ottawa and four subsequent visits have taken place in 2011, 2012 and 2 visits in 2014.
The Goedgedacht Trust’s MEL process is based on a generic MEL format which is described hereunder recognising that a sound MEL system must rest on 5 key principles:
- Relevance is the extent to which the objectives of a development intervention are consistent with the beneficiaries’ requirement, country needs, global priorities and partners’ and donors’ policies.
- Efficiency is a measure of how economically resources/inputs (funds, expertise, time, etc.) are converted to results.
- Effectiveness is the extent to which the development intervention’s objectives were achieved, taking into account their relative importance.
- Impacts are the positive and negative, primary and secondary long-term effects produced by a development intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended.
- Sustainability is the continuation of benefits from a development intervention after major development assistance has been completed, the probability of long-term benefits. The resilience to risk of the net benefit flows over time.
We would like to highlight that above and beyond the generic MEL approached the Goedgedacht Trust has opted for an Empowerment Evaluation process this means that the MEL framework must be meaningful to the user, easy to use, lightweight and supportive rather than punitive in nature.