Monitoring, Evaluation, Resolution, and Learning (MERL)

Click here to view the new Resolution Workshop Report, “Exploring What Happens After Monitoring and Evaluation.”

Monitoring and Evaluation is a common phrase used across development, but the traditional process is insufficient. How do we resolve issues when they arise? How can we learn from the data and integrate lessons learned into current and future programming? An appropriate approach would also include Resolution of issues identified during monitoring and evaluation, and Learning to improve development practice, using a comprehensive framework for Monitoring, Evaluation, Resolution, and Learning (MERL). MERL in WASH programs during and post-implementation is essential for long-term sustainable service delivery, but it is rarely done.

The components of MERL are defined as follows:

M – Monitoring uses indicators to measure effectiveness over time including during the life of a program and post-implementation. Post-implementation monitoring occurs after installation of the WASH service or program.

E – Evaluation is the long-term systematic and objective assessment of an ongoing or completed project, program, or policy, and its design, implementation, and results. Evaluations should be performed by an external third party (1).

R – Resolution is the process of addressing problems identified through monitoring and evaluation results.

L – Learning is the process of incorporating lessons learned into ongoing practices to increase effectiveness and sustainability over time. Learning includes sharing best practices and lessons learned both internally and externally.

The MERL process can contribute to the planning, design, and implementation of more sustainable services and an understanding of how to improve future programs, by examining the factors of success or failure of an intervention. MERL requires the participation of all stakeholders, including donors, national and local governments, implementing organizations, and communities. These stakeholders should discuss and agree upon financial and technical roles and responsibilities during the planning phase.  Post-implementation Monitoring should begin within six months of project completion, and the MERL process should continue for a minimum of five years.

For more background information on MERL, please see the  MERL Overview.

For more information, please contact Elynn Walter, 202-293-4002



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