Adapting & Building Locally-led M&E Teams

RDI Network
September 2021
5 min read
  • The case for locally-led M&E teams. Locally-led M&E teams are aimed at balancing asymmetries of power by promoting local agency and mutual accountability. They can also help to ensure local knowledge and priorities are prioritized, build local ownership of programs, and produce context aware evaluation. 
  • Building a locally-led M&E corresponds with developing organizational evaluation capacity.  This includes engaging key leaders within the organization to share responsibility for increasing interest and support for M&E and developing a detailed long term evaluation capacity plan. It also involves engaging staff, board and community members in continuing oversight of M&E policies and procedures. 
  • Meaningfully involve local staff at all stages of M&E. Support local staff to define what impact means for your organization, how your programs aim to achieve this, and set up systems and processes that measure program effectiveness. Engage local people in data collection, as well as, analysis and communicating findings with stakeholders. 
  • Build sustainable teams. Hire locally to fill in gaps in skills and knowledge and hire local experts for senior M&E roles. This may require engaging knowledge brokers to strengthen the capacity of local actors to lead M&E. Support new staff with onboarding and define roles to prevent confusion, including clarifying the ways in which roles are interdependent to encourage trust and peer learning. 
  • Provide M&E teams with sufficient resources to operate effectively. This may take the form of fiscal support, as well as technology, time, and opportunities to collaborate and reflect. 
  • Institutionalize feedback mechanisms. This includes regular reporting to program managers and stakeholders. Likewise, central or intermediary organizations should routinely practice downward accountability and model a willingness to be evaluated. 
  • Centre local learning. Support adaptive management and locally-led decision-making. 
  • Respond to local demand driven capacity building. This can take the form of in-house training, opportunities for knowledge transfer with other organizations and networks.  

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