3. Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL)

  • What is the purpose of this chapter?

This chapter of the toolkit provides practical guidance for country office programme teams to design, implement and manage an appropriate system for monitoring emergency response that is effective and efficient at the different stages of response management cycle.

It focuses on the fundamentals of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) of humanitarian actions and in humanitarian contexts.

For other MEAL related detailed guidance see the following chapters of the CET:

  • Intended audiences?

CARE Country Office M&E teams

  • With humanitarian programmes / responses at various stages (including start-up)
  • Developing an emergency preparedness plan (EPP) – see Stage 1
  • Aiming to adapt their development programming to be able to respond / adapt to humanitarian crisis

Programme Quality managers (ACD-P(Q), DRD-P(Q)) and MEAL focal points at HQ level

  • to provide M&E guidance for the CO Program teams
  • to assess quality of M&E systems
  • to mobilise adequate resources and support for MEAL at CO level.

Monitoring and Evaluation have a range of purposes in humanitarian programming, but among the most critical to ultimately achieve the best outcomes for crisis-affected populations are:

  • ensuring relevance and inclusivity of the humanitarian interventions: who needs what – how urgently – where; expressed in realistic targets and timelines,
  • measuring outputs and outcomes of humanitarian interventions against meaningful and manageable set of quantitative & qualitative indicators and/or questions
  • understanding the wider effects of assistance and support provided by CARE and others on disaster-affected communities and people

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

Efficient decision making and evidence-based learning heavily depend on the quality and timeliness of monitoring & evaluation. A Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) 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.


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

3.2.1. 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