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Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning


On this page we answer the question, what is Monitoring and Evaluation and Learning?  We explain why we think it’s important and our approach.

You can also view our related training courses and news.  We also offer consultancy, facilitation and coaching on this subject.





Accepting that circumstances and factors surrounding social interventions and projects tend to be dynamic and emergent requires a major focus on learning. We understand MEL as the reflection-action learning processes happening during and after any social intervention aimed at maximizing contribution to transformative changes, including implementing organisations’ changes.  "Not everything that can be counted counts…not everything that counts can be counted."  W. Bruce Cameron.








From a learning perspective, MEL participation of different stakeholders – understood as methods, tools, approaches, practices and attitudes – is not just considered a “good practice” but actually constitutes a core, pragmatic principle to inform processes of organisational learning and decision making. Since knowledge is to be created by actors on the ground, programmes need to be informed by stakeholders’ interpretation and participation in making sense of their experiences.

We believe that our role as evaluators is to facilitate collaborative processes that are empowering and contribute to a sense of ownership for stakeholders.

In our experience, when introducing a participatory and facilitative approach to reflection and data collection, new insights and learning will emerge which are of direct and immediate use to the stakeholders involved, so that the outcome of the evaluation is not limited to the report and accountability to funders and donors.






In our MEL activities we focus our attention on data and information coming from participatory processes from grassroots for decision making and learning at organisational level.

We use different evaluation frameworks such as casual frameworks including logframes and Theory of Change (ToC), Participatory Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning; contribution frameworks, such as Outcome Mapping and Process Tracing, as well as gender analysis approaches with intersectional perspectives which are closely linked with evaluation frameworks around power asymmetries. 

In our work we apply a wide range of technical skills for social research, including qualitative and quantitative tools to aid data generation, and collective and multi-stakeholder analysis and sense making. We particularly favour transformative participatory tools that are oriented in reflection and action.




Featured news  


EAFM Training of Trainers



Great sharing on our last day of Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) Training of Trainers, near Tarcoles, on Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The 6 participating Latin America and Caribbean country teams presented solid strategies for supporting the development/revision of pilot site fisheries management plans. Coaching provided by REBYC II-LAC project coordinator, senior lecturer from University of West Indies, Chris Grose and Silvia Capezzuoli.

Learn more about EAFM here...

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We were pleased to recently host members of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mozambique, in the UK for a 10 days tailor made workshop on Monitoring and Evaluation for Results.  The participants were part of the Agricultural Productivity Program for Southern Africa (APPSA) which seeks to improve technology generation and dissemination within and among participating countries in southern Africa by building capacity within national R&D systems and enhancing regional collaboration.  Using the current organisational documents of APPSA, we covered the fundamentals of M&E and then went into depth about tools and techniques related to M&E including Theory of Change, Participatory Data gathering...
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RBM workshop in Lesotho



Dani, Giulio, Silvia, Mick and Leigh are in Lesotho facilitating a workshop on RBM for the Lesotho Data project funded by UNDP and European Union. Great start with social and institutional map.  More news soon...

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The Italian NGO ACRA works in different countries, directly implementing projects and working through partners.

Recently, staff at HQ articulated the need to harmonise their understanding of M&E concepts and tools. Leigh and Silvia facilitated a workshop for ACRA in Milan, allowing project and support staff to develop their own understanding of what M&E means to ACRA.

We worked on theories of change for a couple of projects and critically, spent time looking at how to develop and strengthen the relationship between projects and the wider, organizational learning environment, ensuring engagement and accountability.   

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We were very pleased asked by AVERT to support their thinking process as they develop their next 5 year Strategic Plan.  As a starting point we explored the team’s thinking around AVERT’s work and reason for being- working globally on HIV and AIDS prevention.  Using Theory of Change we discussed the importance of personal and organisational assumptions, highlighting how much we need to be aware of these as they frame our view of reality and social change.  The AVERT team developed their theory of change over a number of weeks and IMA provided continuous support.

The next step was facilitation of the...
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Giulio and Daniel have recently been to Murmansk (Russia) where they facilitated a Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation design system for the Barents, Baltic Nature and People Programme. The workshop supported the WWF Russia Murmansk staff in designing a Participatory M&E system integrated with qualitative data collection and analysis.  Participants had a practical experience around the value of timelines and Stories of Change for M&E purposes integrating a qualitative approach to the usual Key Performance Indicators (KPI's).

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A rare occurrence happened last week, four of our in-house consultants were in the office at the same time!

It was a perfect opportunity to ask them what they have been up to and what they have got planned in our first vlog!

If you have questions you would like to hear our consultants answer or topics you would like them to discuss in the next one, please leave a comment.

Thanks, Ruth Jolly, Chris Grose, Giulio Ghirardo & Silvia Capezzuoli.



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We believe that for a training course to be a real learning experience, participants need to feel they go home with real ‘takeaways’ which they can comfortably put into practice to improve their work. 18 participants from UNDP, World Bank, Ghana Revenue Authority, Rwanda Electricity Corporation, KOICA, Centre for Communication Programmes Nigeria, Danish Refugee Council, Porticus Trust Kenya, SIDA and independents gathered together for 2 weeks at our seafront venue to talk, listen, learn and share experiences. We know that all 18 participants from 11 different countries definitely acquired new skills and tips at a personal level. In terms of professional development, key...
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Our recent 'Leadership and Management in Development’ course in Brighton went well...

It was a great group of participants from India, Sudan and Nigeria engaged in corporate social responsibility, nation-wide health programmes and international aid funding and development. We explored stimulating themes such as the requirements of leadership in our current context; systems thinking, the nature of power, motivation and teams. We used action learning and reflection to establish goals, offer peer support and share new intentions.
We also all enjoyed a social visit the new Brighton...
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Supporting fisheries management in Mexico. Working with The Nature Conservancy, Mexican government agencies CONAPESCA and INAPESCA, and fisheries consultant Derek Staples, Silvia is running the Essential EAFM course in Mexico City this week. The main participants are INAPESCA and CONAPESCA fisheries agencies from both Pacific and Atlantic programmes, plus SEMARNAT (environment agency) and FAO.

This is the 1st of a longer-term series of nine modules (online and face-to-face) planned over a 3-year for building capacity for the two main government agencies. The popular Essential EAFM course has been translated in Spanish and is running for the first time in the central and Latin...
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In Brussels, a group came together on our five-day Knowledge Management training course this week. With ten nationalities and diverse contexts in play, participants learnt, studied, practiced and shared to gain deeper understanding of the art of knowledge management. They left in high spirits, taking with them a clearer sense of direction, concrete next steps and enlivened belief in the necessity and benefits of knowledge management.

We were able to enquire into the elements that make sharing and using knowledge work; the notion of a supply and demand side; how purpose and motivation matters and how ICT advances and increased relational working...
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We are holding our fourth leadership forum Wednesday 7 June 16.30, Mercure Hotel, Brighton seafront: A connected approach to leadership - How a shift in perspective improves strategic thinking and much more. Come and find out:

  • What remarkable results happen with a shift to a connected, transdisciplinary perspective?
  • How is it possible to reach collective agreement from conflict?
  • How did an elephant conservation project ended up tackling biodiversity loss, climate change, land degradation, poverty and civil war?
  • How can this connected approach improve strategic thinking;  foster creativity, adaptability, and response to complex, unpredictable situations; and minimises negative side effects?

Guest speaker Dr Susan Canney