Hello friends! A few weeks ago, I attended MERLTech 2016 and perused my visual notes from the MERLTech 2015 before the conference began. My key take aways from MERLTech 2015 (indicated by a green star in the notes) were:
- We don’t ask frequently enough how often M&E projects become self-supported and are sustained long term.
- Successful organizations focus more time/resources on training decision-makers how to interpret data and less on improving the accuracy of the data itself.
- When it comes to tech tools, it’s important to understand what participants are already using and use that platform to communicate/collect data.
- We are learning the same lessons over and over again. We end our reports with “lessons learned” but are we actually learning? (Spolier alert: No). How can we actually help our teams and organizations to learn?
- If we really want to have “locally-led” initiatives, we need to reverse our thinking around who “owns” the data we are collecting.
- Before putting time and resources into answering learning questions – check to see if others have sought to answer those same questions already.
- A well-functioning relationship between MERL and program management is critically important.
So, have we actually learned since MERLTech 2015? Take a look at the visual recap of MERLTech 2016 below and post your comments. What have you learned this past year? Stay tuned for a follow on blog post from me on USAID’s Learning Lab site!