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Thursday, September 6 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
Integrating MERL with program design: Presenting an approach to balance your MERL strategy with four principles

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This session is for program managers and monitoring and evaluation officers who work in complex contexts, and due to limited resources, often have to make tradeoffs between program design (D) and MERL activities. When programs prioritize one aspect of D-MERL over others or continue to work in silos, issues can arise: a compromise in evidence quality and integrity; uninformed decision-making; poor selection of methodological processes; and ineffective organizational learning.

In this interactive session, we will introduce the BalanceD-MERL approach developed by the BalanceD-MERL consortium (funded by the USAID Global Development Lab’s MERLIN program). This approach is an intentional bridge between program design and utilization-focused MERL. Audiences will leave this session understanding how to operationalize the BalanceD-MERL approach, as well as its four core principles, into their programs. We will also present newly developed tools, beginning with the BalanceD-MERL maturity matrix. This matrix provides practical guidelines (through the use of guiding questions) on developing effective and efficient MERL strategies that are designed to the needs of the program. Next, we will share a practice-oriented case study that captures lessons learned from our experience piloting the approach and designing the MERL strategy (with the Performance Management Information System) in a water, sanitation and hygiene program launched in India. Discussion with the audience will encourage feedback on how technology can be better leveraged to bridge the gaps between program design and MERL, and how the BalanceD-MERL approach can be made more user-friendly. Attendees are highly encouraged to share lessons learned from their own experiences in balancing monitoring and evaluation with other activities.

avatar for Heather Esper

Heather Esper

Senior Program Manager, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan
Heather Esper leads the Performance Measurement Initiative at the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan. She has 11 years of experience in leading partnerships, research and assessments of organizations’ economic, social and environmental performance and outcomes... Read More →
avatar for Yaquta Fatehi

Yaquta Fatehi

Program Manager, The William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan
Yaquta Fatehi is a Program Manager at The William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan. She works with both the private sector and the development sector to identify and improve socio-economic impacts of their low-income stakeholders. Combining social and business/operations... Read More →

Thursday September 6, 2018 11:00am - 12:00pm EDT
Angle 1825 Connecticut Avenue NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20009