3. Monitoring and Evaluation

  • What is the purpose of this chapter?

This chapter of the toolkit provides practical guidance for country office program and MEL teams to monitor a humanitarian crisis and response and design an appropriate MEL system for emergency response that is effective and efficient.

It focuses on the fundamentals of Monitoring and Evaluation of humanitarian actions. For other MEAL related detailed guidance see the following chapters of the CET:

  • Intended audiences?

CARE Country Office MEL teams – both humanitarian and CO’s with new/no emergency programming. It is also meant to provide guidance for the CO Program teams, including the Assistant Country Director and Program Quality Coordinators.

  • The importance of MEAL

Monitoring and Evaluation have a range of purposes in humanitarian programming, but among the most critical are ensuring relevance and inclusivity, enhancing accountability to affected populations in order to ultimately achieve the best outcomes for crisis-affected populations from CARE’s humanitarian programming.

Monitoring and evaluation help in understanding how the assistance and support that CARE provides to disaster-affected communities affects them. Therefore, any monitoring and evaluation in CARE is expected to give particular attention to aspects of gender, age and other elements of intersectionality and related differences in vulnerabilities, capacities and thus needs

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 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. A Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) system for humanitarian response 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


1.1 Roles and responsibilities of monitoring and evaluation

1.2 Role of the Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator in emergency team

1.3 Definition of key terms relating to monitoring and evaluation


  • Assess CO capacity for monitoring and accountability.
  • Establish monitoring and evaluation systems from the very outset of the emergency response.
  • Use CARE’s Humanitarian Accountability Framework to inform the development of monitoring and evaluation systems.
  • Establish appropriate objectives and indicators at the individual project level as well as the overall emergency programme level during the design phase of the response.
  • Ensure that the monitoring and accountability system in place is capable of delivering real-time information on what is happening in emergency response conditions.
  • Plan for data collection and analysis. Double-check that the information to be gathered is going to give a realistic picture of what is actually happening.
  • Plan for reporting, feedback and use of results.
  • Ensure that the Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator coordinates data collection and analysis for monitoring purposes across the programme.
  • Employ a range of appropriate and participatory data collection methods.
  • Confirm that all monitoring data collected is analysed and presented in a timely and user-friendly way.
  • Ensure that appropriate managers review and act on monitoring data.
  • Include resources for monitoring and evaluation activities in project budgets.
  • Ensure monitoring includes feedback to communities.


  • Design an appropriate monitoring and evaluation system for the emergency response.
  • Ensure monitoring and evaluation systems consider all aspects of the response management.
  • Establish appropriate objectives and indicators at the design phase.


Include monitoring and evaluation line items in project budgets.

5.1 Monitoring and evaluation costs


  • Coordinate data collection and analysis responsibilities across the programme.
  • Select a range of appropriate and participatory data collection methods.
  • Conduct timely data analysis.
  • Ensure timely management review of monitoring results and correct any issues arising.

4.1 Data collection and analysis responsibilities

4.2 Data collection methods

4.2.1 Participatory data collection methods

4.3 Data analysis

4.3.1 Quality of information

4.4 Management review of monitoring results

4.5 Proposal tracking and documentation

Lessons learned from previous CARE emergency operations have found that CARE COs often lack the capacity to design and implement monitoring and evaluation systems during emergency responses. In particular, COs have difficulty in adapting their regular monitoring and evaluation systems (used for longer-term programming) to more unpredictable emergency situations that are changing rapidly.

As both a relief and development agency, CARE has determined that programme and project standards should apply to all CARE programming, including emergencies, post-conflict rehabilitation and development, whether CARE is directly providing assistance, working with or through partners, or conducting advocacy campaigns. 

CARE’s Quality & Accountability policies & standards should be used to inform the development of monitoring and evaluation systems in order to be consistent with the Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS) as well as the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief.

CARE’s Evaluation Policy describes CARE’s commitments to using evaluations to promote systematic reflective practice and organisational learning, and accountability to help contribute to significant and sustainable changes in the lives of people we serve.