Our Commitment to Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning

Our Commitment to Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning

Catholic Relief Services’ commitment to operational and programmatic excellence demands continuous improvement in our ability to document, analyze and apply learning at the project, sector and agency levels, and to share our reflections with stakeholders, practitioners and policymakers.

CRS invests in an agency-wide approach to monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning for overseas programming to improve our ability to:

  • Utilize effective feedback mechanisms to ensure greater accountability to program beneficiaries
  • Systematically measure results, incorporate and document experiential learning
  • Optimize use of technology to improve the accuracy, timeliness and accessibility of monitoring and evaluation data
  • Facilitate decisions based on evidence and learning
  • Share our learning with the broader development community and policymakers

Policies and Procedures

There is now an orientation module available for all CRS and partner staff to view and discuss. The orientation presents an overview of the eight monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) policies and 29 accompanying procedures. It presents key information on how to implement and comply with the procedures, and references the support and resources available

Accountability

CRS continues to demonstrate accountability to donors and other stakeholders, to partners and to the communities we serve through a variety of practices. Our work gives greater voice to different perspectives while also balancing and addressing a range of needs in decision-making processes. The agency’s policies and procedures standardize our strong accountability work related to feedback and response mechanisms among other practices. They also provide a framework for holding ourselves accountable to our internal standards of program quality.

This orientation module is intended for both MEAL and program staff. The orientation covers key principles and practices which increase accountability to beneficiaries, donors, partner organizations, other stakeholders and to ourselves.

Learning

As a learning organization, CRS draws on the rich and varied experiences of staff and partners. CRS seeks to ensure that learning activities provide a link between the past and the future, while integrating theory and action. Staff and partners are required to look for meaning in their activities to generate good-fit solutions to many complex development challenges.

The learning orientation module is intended for both MEAL and program staff. The orientation presents key knowledge management and learning concepts and practices.

Evaluative Thinking

This video discusses how evaluative thinking supports high-quality programming in global development, and why CRS is strengthening its capacity to apply it through workshops and other activities. You’ll learn what evaluative thinking is, why our staff and partners are excited about it, and how it engages communities in continuous learning and reflection about outcomes, helps them adapt to changing conditions and, ultimately, improves lives.

Introduction to Evaluative Thinking (1 out of 6)

This video, the first of six more detailed videos explaining the process of evaluative thinking, introduces evaluative thinking: what it is, why we think it has a role in supporting high-quality programming in the current context, and an overview of what it comprises.

Evaluative Thinking: Introduction to Theory of Change Pathway Models (2 out of 6)

This video introduces theory of change pathway models: what they are, why we think they have a role in supporting evaluative thinking, and a brief overview of what working with them involves.

Evaluative Thinking: Discovering Assumptions (3 out of 6)

This video, the third in the series of six videos explaining the process of evaluative thinking, will explain how to use evaluative thinking to uncover the assumptions that are inherent in every theory of change.

Evaluative Thinking: Developing Project Learning Plans (4 out of 6)

This video, the fourth in the series of six videos explaining the process of evaluative thinking, will look at how to develop a project learning plan based on the critical assumptions that have been identified earlier in the evaluative thinking process.

Evaluative Thinking: Making Informed Decisions (5 out of 6)

This video, the fifth in the series of six videos explaining the process of evaluative thinking, will explain how to make meaning from, and utilize evidence to communicate your findings to stakeholders and make informed decisions with them in preparation for action.

Evaluative Thinking: Becoming a Learning Organization (6 out of 6)

This video, the final one in the series of six videos explaining the process of evaluative thinking, will suggest ways to transform your organization so that evaluative thinking is embedded in your policies and culture. This will establish a strong foundation for ‘intelligent’ MEAL systems that will support adaptive project management approaches that are more responsive to the needs of those we are seeking to serve.

Beneficiary and Service Delivery Indicators

The Beneficiary and Service Delivery Indicators (BSDI) Orientation module is a brief introduction to the BSDI framework and data gathering process. It provides an overview of BSDI, what it is, how it evolved, and why it is an integral part of the agency's strategy.  This orientation module is intended for both MEAL and program staff. 

e-Valuate

At CRS we continually monitor our programs, adjusting our activities along the way to ensure the greatest positive impact. To help our staff and partners collect data about our programs, we created a mobile data collection platform called e-Valuate. This cutting edge platform:

  • Enables timelier and more accurate data collection

  • Delivers better efficiency for data collecting and reporting in many contexts

  • Facilitates the use of analytical tools for decision making and service delivery

  • Provides easier performance tracking across projects, countries and regions

At CRS we continually monitor our programs, adjusting our activities along the way to ensure the greatest positive impact. To help our staff and partners evaluate our programs, we created "e-Valuate," a cutting edge platform that enables easier and more accurate data collection, better efficiency for data collecting and reporting, more transparency and accountability, better tools for decision making and service delivery, and easier performance tracking across projects, countries and regions.

We also use robust financial mechanisms to ensure accountability and transparency with our donors and the people we serve. To help our staff and partner organizations keep up with the latest advances in monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (what we call "MEAL"), we provide the following online training courses.