3.2. Stage by stage MEL in humanitarian contexts

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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.

Evaluations are a time-bound activity (vs. ongoing nature of monitoring). In emergencies, evaluations can be used to assess outcomes, impact and sustainability as well as immediate feedback during implementation. However, sometimes results monitoring (discussed in the prior stage) can be enough to assess impact.

Evaluations can be internal or external and can be participatory or jointly conducted. All evaluations need to provide with substantiated evidence of the changes that took place because of a project or initiative’s actions, and a plausible explanation of how CARE’s actions contributed to the materialization of those changes. Evaluations help answer questions on whether CARE is doing the right things, effectiveness of the intervention and what results have been achieved.

The criteria below can help further inform which type of evaluation is appropriate for the emergency response programme and project:

 

Type Purpose Criteria Methods Tools
Real-time Evaluation Used during implementation for rapid feedback with focus on lessons learned and good practices; interactive

 

Does not assess impact or effectiveness, but useful adaptive management tool

Usually occur during the first 2-3 months

 

Timeframe is 1-2 weeks

 

Hire experienced evaluator with knowledge of emergencies

KIIs

 

Workshop to review results

ALNAP Guide

 

Sample TOR

Rapid Accountability Review improve the quality of CARE’s response by assessing its compliance with established good practice Within 2 months of the start of an emergency event Checklists

FGDs

KIIs

Meeting

Q&A Chapter

RAR Guidance

RAR TOR

RAR Report template

After-Action Review Internal performance review and lessons learned exercise Large-scale emergency and within the first 3-4 months

 

For smaller scale, AAR can be a lessons learned exercise within first 3-4 months

Workshop Q&A Chapter

AAR agenda

AAR report

Baseline If it is a donor requirement or a project is longer than 2 years

 

 

Conducted within 3 months of project start up for project longer than 2 years FGDs

KIIs

Surveys

Document review

CARE tool ?
Midterm evaluation If it is a donor requirement or a project is longer than 2 years

 

Conducted within 6 months of midpoint of implementation of a project longer than 2 years FGDs

KIIs

Surveys

Document review

CARE tool ?
Final evaluation If it is a donor requirement or a project is longer than 2 years

 

Conducted during last 6 months of a project longer than 2 years FGDs

KIIs

Surveys

Document review

CARE tool?
Cluster Evaluation, interagency , or peer evaluation

 

Timing/Sequencing: Evaluations should be conducted according to the calendar set in the MEL plan and approved by the donor. Often only longer projects will require evaluations. Begin preparations for any evaluations early – sometimes the identification of qualified staff or consultants can be time-consuming.

 

Step: Consult your MEAL plan and begin preparations.

Evaluations will need to planned for during the preparation of MEL Framework and MEL Plan  – and will depend on the informational and accountability needs of the logframe and donor requirements.

The type of evaluation and when will be outlined in your MEAL plan. Begin by identifying the purpose(s) of the evaluation, who will be involved and what roles they will play, and a plan for how the information will be used for decision-making and who will do it. Ensure that a clear TOR is developed and put together the evaluation team. See Annex XX for a sample TOR for an external evaluation of an earthquake response in Pakistan. Then, design the data collection tools – using the examples above.

 

All evaluations will require a report – see ALNAP’s Evaluation Report Format checklist in Annex XX. See Annex XX for a sample AAR and RAR report.

 

Step: Use and share findings – including with communities

See Annex XX Information provision to affected communities for a list of different options for communicating with communities.

 

CHECKLIST for EVALUATIONS and REVIEWS

DO’s & DON’Ts for EVALUATIONS and REVIEWS

 

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