INVESTING IN MONITORING, EVALUATION AND LEARNING
By:AGN Secretariat     Date Published:15-May-2014    
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Summary/Abstract:
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

We found that many NGOs take MEL very seriously and make considerable investments in it as they see it as a means to improve their work and that of their partners. For most NGOs, their MEL systems are reported to support them in making day-to-day project management decisions with many saying MEL also supports strategic management and learning. In most cases, existing computer software is used for information management, regardless of the size or kind of NGO. Some NGOs are investing in bespoke systems, which are expensive and take time. Whilst these may be suitable in some situations the study did not show any correlation between bespoke systems and perceived MEL system effectiveness. The MEL systems that are most useful, according to the NGOs using them, combine long-term relationships with partner NGOs with the ability to do data analysis close to the ground and MEL capacity building of local partners. They also have deep integration of MEL within an NGO head office, ensuring it is perceived as a collective responsibility, and a focus on improving work with beneficiaries and partners, rather than proving effectiveness to donors or external stakeholders.The study shows that three aspects are important in resourcing and maintaining MEL systems: 
  1. strategic investment and funding
  2. leadership
  3. adequate staff capacity

By: AGN Secretariat
African Grantmakers Network (AGN) - Voice and Action for African Philanthropy - is a continent-wide network of African grantmaking organizations that facilitates networking and experience-sharing among established and emerging African philanthropic institutions. AGN aims at consolidating the voice for African philanthropy to address social injustice and development issues on the continent

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