Designing your MEL
Designing your Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (MEL)
In this lesson we start to put it all together from what you have done so far.
You will have done the following:
- Drawn up the Theory of Change for your project or a Change Pathway map. This means you have a good idea of what your project is planning to achieve and the steps to achieving this.
- You may have done a Revaluation exercise and filled in the ‘6 boxes’
Now you have to decide what to assess from this possibly wide range of possible outcomes of your project. You will not be able to assess everything and will have to decide.
There are several considerations- these would have been considered at the beginning of the process and can be revisited now:
- What does the management of your project see as priorities?
- What areas are you (as project manager, for example) concerned about?
- What are the original objectives of the project?
- What budget do you have for MEL?
- What expertise do you have or could bring in for MEL?
- What did you agree with funders (if any) of your project
- What does/ did the community your project serves want to achieve?
- Do you want to look at Earth Care, People Care, Fair Shares equally or do a more specialist ME
Did any of the preparation exercises reveal new objectives or outcomes for the project, perhaps ones that you had not considered initially?
If these questions do not result in a clear focus for your MEL, a suggested way to proceed is to call a community/ project meeting and set your priorities there with some suggestions prepared. At this meeting you could present some particular parameters of interest related to your objectives and discuss these and agree on data collection for a few parameters based on budget and person-power.
The Change Pathways and Revaluation course may have provided some additional insights on how to prioritise.
An example of an outline plan for a Nutrition Objective is given in the Nutrition Evaluation Course as well as here, as follows:
An example of an outline plan for a Nutrition Objective:
The details on how to do the assessments proposed will be covered in all the lessons leading up to designing your MEL plan. You can complete the Logical Framework once you have done this, because the Logframe requires some prioritisation that will become clear as you design your MEL.
(see ‘Nutritional Indicators’ for more details on the indicators suggested)
Improvement in Dietary Diversity of household members
Impact Indicator: ‘Individual Dietary Diversity Score’
You have drawn up your Theory of Change and identified that the project aims to improve nutrition through 3 distinct pathways:
Pathway 1 (related to Household Food Security)
It was recognised that household diets were the poorest during the hungry season due to lack of production.
Activity: Increased on-farm agricultural production of a range of foods that will improve household food security and diversity of foods available to the household for the hungry season.
Outcome indicator: Crop nutritional functional richness or nutritional yield per hectare
Pathway 2 (related to Caring Practices)
It was recognised that there was a gap in knowledge about what was an adequate diet for different members of the household and a lack of understanding on how to use local foods to prepare nutritious meals.
Activity: Training on Nutrition leading to increased knowledge about adequate diets.
Outcome indicator: This could be a post training evaluation on nutritional knowledge based on the training given (qualitative)
Pathway 3 (related to Healthy Environment)
It was recognised that water supplies were inadequate and there was a lack of sanitation and children were suffering from diarrhoea frequently.
Activity: Introduction of safe water supplies and composting toilets to prevent water-borne diseases and diarrhoea of household members.
Outcome indicator: Household protected water source available/accessible
Household access to a latrine or compost toilet