Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) done well is essential for NGOs. In this era of reduced resources and competing demands, it is more important than ever to use evidence to shape strategic priorities and programs, and demonstrate the sector’s contribution to change. With this in mind, ACFID members have started a MEL Community of Practice (COP) to stimulate learning and collaboration, with the inaugural event to be held on December 3 in Melbourne.
The goal of this learning event and launch is to foster collaboration between members, to shape the COP and to exchange knowledge and ideas. It has been organised by MEL COP founders from Oxfam (co-chair), IWDA (co-chair), The Fred Hollows Foundation, Engineers Without Borders, World Vision, Caritas and independent consultant Grace Nicholas.
With the theme of ‘Strategic MEL’, the afternoon will start with a panel discussion of recent debates and experiences around the topic. Following the panel, participants are warmly invited to share their interests and priorities, to inform the COP’s focus and activities. The COP is fortunate to have Dr Linda Kelly as a ‘critical friend’ for the day. As Director of the LaTrobe University Institute for Social Change and Praxis Consultants, Dr Kelly is well-placed to offer insights from a range of perspectives, including DFAT, universities and NGOs.
The topic ‘strategic MEL’ explores the ways that NGOs can communicate contributions to change across scales: project, programmatic, transboundary and sectoral. It explores ways to influence and understand how NGOs can continue to contribute to inclusive development in the coming decades and be counted in the reckoning of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the RDI Network Conference Strategic MEL Workshop in June this year, ACFID members agreed on the value of peer learning, interaction and leadership: all key priorities for a network for exchanging information and building an environment for practical collaboration.
Key words for this MEL COP are community, connect, learn and innovate. To date, there is appetite to explore issues such as gender in MEL, ways to demonstrate contributions to the SDGs, climate change and resilient development, and disability-inclusive MEL. New ideas are welcome for activities that will help to connect and share. As with other COPs, the MEL COP has developed a Terms of Reference and will use the Collaborate Platform via MYACFID.
Any COP is as strong as its members’ support, so please take this chance to learn more and make MEL count by joining the launch on December 3.
3 December, 1.30-4.30pm at La Trobe University City campus (Teaching Rooms 3 & 4, 360 Collins St). Participants have the option to attend remotely if needed.