Monitoring Evaluation and Learning

Monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) is at the heart of implementing programs including the Uwezo National Learning Assessment. Monitoring involves routine monitoring of program resources, activities and results, and analysis of the information to guide program implementation. The periodic evaluations reports during the mid-term, and/or final assessment and analysis of on-going or completed programs provide key in information useful for reflection and continuous improvement of a program’s ability to achieve results. A number of different processes and methods (qualitative and quantitative) and a variety of tools are put in place to facilitate effective MEL for organizational learning and measurement. Specific indicators are identified early at the planning stage and used during implementation to monitor progress in achieving the set goals and evaluate achievement of the expected outcomes and impact.

I. Monitoring

Monitoring is concerned mainly with the routine monitoring of program resources, activities and procedure and standards, and analysis of the baseline information necessary for implementing the program. The monitoring focuses on coverage, reach, quality of the product, users’ feedback, emerging effects, stories of change from the field as well as challenges. The monitoring records enable cost-effectiveness issues be considered. The monitoring process involves a large number of volunteers and partners who are entrusted with additional responsibilities of a rigorous process of follow up, performance assessment, recording progress as well as effecting changes to manage the quality of program results. We leverage technology to improve the quality of monitoring data collected and the turnaround time, as well as controlling the cost of the process.

II. Evaluation

Evaluation exercises focus on immediate outputs and longer-term outcomes and also focus on whole areas of activity (e.g. the national assessments of learning). It is recommended to conduct a mid-term program evaluation to allow take stock of where the program is and whether the program is heading to the right direction, so as to achieve expected program outcomes. At the completion stage of the program, a final evaluation should be conducted. The evaluators are always well briefed on the baseline, inputs, processes and outputs in order to reach valid conclusions. In relation to evaluating the policy impact of Usawa Agenda’s work, the influence of educational research on national policy is documented with time for reference. In some cases, it may influence global understanding. As indicated earlier, there are two main evaluation exercises: a) Midterm review – which takes place after two years of implementation. The evaluation report is for internal use and is shared with the board and funders to understand and further support the progress towards achieving the strategy goals and outcomes; and b) final/end line evaluation which is conducted in the final quarter of the strategy. Evaluators are provided with necessary information, documents and baseline reports for reference and other related support. The evaluation tracks outcomes and impact at the national, sub-national and global level. This evaluation report is shared with the board, funders, partners, and the wider public by posting on our website.

III. Learning

The learning part of MEL is the one most important phase. Collection, analysis and making sense of data is a great learning opportunity for Usawa Agenda. At the program level, its key to document on and learn on what works well in a particular context or what does not work well, which aspects of a program has more influence the achievement of results, which strategies can be replicated etc. This will be also important to compare results across programs to determine which contribute to achieving the organization’s mission; aggregate results from different programs (depending on program similarities or in response to cross cutting organizational indicators) to understand the wider reach of the organization; or aggregate learning from different programs to guide the strategic development of new programs and funding opportunities. It is good practice to share learning at both programs and organizational levels, and results achieved by programs (positive and negative) with organization partners, communities, and funders, in response to their needs and the benefits MEL provides for them; as well as the general public (through the website). This strengthens accountability and transparency. Often, where there is opportunity, staff is assigned and teams up and work with consultants in a way of developing internal MEL capacity as well as keep learning within the organization.

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