Giving Compass’ Take:
• Meredith Blair Pearlman explains how The David and Lucile Packard Foundation is working to improve its monitoring, evaluation, and learning practices.
• Is your foundation ready to build or change monitoring, evaluation, and learning practices?
• Learn more about learning and sharing as a foundation.
Our monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) work is grounded in the Foundation’s values of integrity, commitment to effectiveness, and respect for all people. Based on the results of our assessment and follow-up discussions with Foundation staff, we are taking the following steps to improve our work:
Streamline internal processes. For example, we know from our review there are opportunities for us to improve our theories of change by better incorporating grantee partners in the development and refinement of these frameworks.
Strengthen internal staff capacity. Program’s role implementing our MEL philosophy is critical to ensure MEL systems are designed to inform strategy team decision making and responsive to grantee input. Internally we will partner with staff to identify and close MEL competencies gaps.
Strengthen grantee MEL capacity. At the front lines of strategy work, grantees’ ability to collect data about what works and what doesn’t is critical to enabling them to adapt to changing context and needs.
Field building. Conventional evaluation methods, existing data platforms and forums for sharing learning are struggling to meet the growing demands for MEL to inform the complex and rapidly evolving strategies we support. Foundation staff, grantee partners, and our external consultants now, more than ever, need to be cross-disciplinary—experts in traditional social science methods, group facilitation, data visualization, and experts in newer and still emerging disciplines including geographic information system (GIS), data and computer-science approach.
Read the full article about monitoring, evaluation, and learning by Meredith Blair Pearlman at The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
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