The foundation of CARE’s approach to Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) is the recognition that we work in very dynamic and complex contexts, where changes do not follow a linear timeline or a single pathway.

This section therefore builds on CARE’s global MEAL principles and standards, while at the same recognizes the need to adapt those to the divers humanitarian crisis scenarios to which CARE team across the world have to respond to (see CARE’s Approach to Humanitarian MEL).

MEAL is a critical part of CARE’s Humanitarian Accountability Framework (HAF). It allows us to compare the results of our humanitarian actions with our strategic intent (e.g. CARE Vision 2030 , Humanitarian Impact Area Strategy,) with technical standards (such as Core Humanitarian Standards, SPHERE and companions) and with expected outcomes and benchmarks for the response (from response strategy, proposal frameworks etc.).

Equally important for a humanitarian MEAL system is to support alignment with the three key pillars of Accountability to Affected People (AAP): timely and adequate information sharing (transparency) as well as engagement of crisis affected people in the decision making (participation) and in the review of the response performance (feedback and complaints).

Efficient decision making and evidence-based learning heavily depend on the quality and timeliness of monitoring & evaluation. An agile Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) system for humanitarian responses should be adaptable to the scope, scale and the pace of the crisis while at the same time provide a clear indication to the response team about the objectives and activities of the response

At the same time, in a humanitarian response, a ‘good enough’ approach to MEAL may be the only practical possibility. ‘Good enough’ does not mean second best but choosing a simple and timely solution rather a complicated one. As the situation evolves and other options gain feasibility, more sophisticated methods can be applied.

Comprehensive Guidance on Humanitarian MEAL which we will refer to in the section can be found here:

The project lifecycle is a useful tool to understand the tasks and functions of a MEAL system that need to take place in each stage of a humanitarian response to achieve objectives within the available resources and timeframe. The below outlines the key MEAL processes and steps throughout the humanitarian response cycle:

CARE internal information about Humanitarian MEAL is available on  the related CARE’s sharepoint section under the CARE Humanitarian Action Hub

1. Introduction

2. Definitions

3. Humanitarian Accountability Framework (HAF)

3.1 Commitments on Humanitarian Quality and Accountability

3.2 Humanitarian Performance Targets

3.3 Humanitarian Accountability System

4. Q&A Roles and Responsibilities

5. Q&A Checklist for COs

6. Q&A Resourcing

7. Q&A Technical Support

8. Annexes

1. Role of information management in an emergency

1.1 Overall CI roles and responsibilities for information management

1.2 Role of the Information Manager

2. Critical steps in information management

3. Emergency alerts

3.1 Writing the emergency alert

3.2 Distributing the emergency alert

4. Situation reports (sitreps)

4.1 Frequency of sitreps

4.2 Writing the sitrep

4.3 Attachments to the sitrep

4.4 Translation capacity

4.5 Distributing the sitrep

5. Internal information management at the Country Office level

5.1 Internal information management needs

5.2 Establish internal information flows and communications tools

5.3 Data and information collection and reporting

5.4 Information sources

6. Information management at CARE International level

6.1 Key CARE international stakeholders and email lists

6.2 CARE International information needs

6.3 Information the Country Office should request from CI Members

7. Handling enquiries

8. Information support for media and fundraising work

9. Meeting management

10. External information sharing

10.1 Sharing information with the host government

10.2 Peer agencies and Humanitarian Information Centres (HICs)

10.3 Sharing information with donors and reporting

10.4 Sharing information with communities and other local stakeholders

11. Documentation and archival

12. Remote support for information management

13. Infrastructure requirements

14. Operations rooms

15. Additional guidelines for non-presence operations

16. Annexes

17. Other resources

3.1. Basics of MEL in humanitarian contexts

3.1.1 Roles and responsibilities for MEL in humanitarian contexts

3.1.2. Definition of key terms of MEAL in humanitarian contexts

3.1.3. CARE’s approach to Humanitarian MEL

3.1.4. MEL in humanitarian contexts: CRITICAL FIRST STEPS

3.2. Stage by stage MEL in humanitarian contexts

3.2.1. Stage 1: Pre-emergency preparedness

3.2.2. Stage 2: Assessment

3.2.3. Stage 3: Planning

3.2.4. Stage 4: Implementation

3.2.5. Stage 5: Evaluation and External Review

3.2.6. Stage 6: Learning

3.3. MEL Tools and Resources for humanitarian contexts

3.4. Managing Quality MEL of Humanitarian Action

3.5. Humanitarian intervention specific MEL – Vision 2030

7. Annexes

1. What is a Feedback & Complaints Mechanism

2. Key Definitions

3. Why do we need Feedback and Complaints Mechanisms?

4. How to set up and operate a Feedback and Complaints Mechanism?

4.1 Plan

4.2 Act

4.3 Improve

5. Roles and Responsibilities