Introductory webinar. Monitoring, evaluation and learning for policy influence
Facilitated by Dena Lomofsky (On Think Tanks and Southern Hemisphere) and Tracey Philips (Southern Hemisphere)
In this introductory webinar Dena and Tracey provide an overview of the key issues and frameworks in MEL for policy influence. They specifically focus on its benefits, for example it can help organisations understand their own reputation and how their work is used, as well as on the drivers of MEL. The facilitators reflect on how the work that an organisation does influences policy and how context influences this process. They also discuss some of the challenges of monitoring and evaluating policy influence given that the processes are not linear, change is unpredictable, and attribution almost impossible to prove. They highlight that organisations with or without established MEL plans already do collect plenty information, but it is sometimes not easy to unravel what their impact is. In summary, they argue, and show that a good MEL system will help organisations capitalise and organise the information they collect, to learn: what their impact is, how best to carry out their work, and to let go of strategies that are not helping their objectives.
Introductory webinar: A digital dashboard for monitoring, evaluation and learning for policy engagement (coming soon)
Facilitated by Dena Lomofsky (Southern Hemisphere) and Enrique Mendizabal (On Think tanks)
On Think Tanks developed a web-based tool for IFAD to keep track and make sense of its policy engagement work. This tool is different from other electronic MEL systems because it caters for the flexibility that is required to monitor policy engagement; it does not require people to follow strict hierarchies of objectives and report against pre-defined indicators. It is made to capture the complexity and often unexpected nature of policy engagement. Read more about it here.
This webinar provides an overview of the approach to designing the tool, and a demonstration of what it can do.
Long Course Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning for Think Tanks
Facilitators: Vanessa Weyrauch (Politics&Ideas) and Dena Lomofsky (Southern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere)
The course aims to help think tanks assess and enhance their current capacity to monitor, evaluate and learn (MEL) how their research informs public policies, through sharing reflections and cutting edge conceptual knowledge as well as specific MEL methodologies and tools. In webinar 1 the facilitators discuss the main monitoring, evaluation and learning challenges that organisations face, how can these challenges be addressed, as well as the potential main drivers of MEL in your organisations.
In webinar 2 the facilitators explain what is policy influence and who defines it. This is a critical aspect as it will define your influence aims and will lay the groundwork for your MEL strategy. The facilitators then explain how to conduct a situation analysis, which will help uncover many building blocks for a MEL system in an organisation.
In webinar 3 the facilitators discuss the MEL strategy in itself and the importance of the story of change that is behind it. They then walk participants through identifying outcomes and indicators and suggest tools and tips on how to do this.
In the last session (webinar 4) Vanessa and Dena discuss final approaches to MEL and methodologies to roll it out. In particular they discuss two cases of think tanks that used different methods for their MEL.
Short course: Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning about policy influence
Facilitators: Vanessa Weyrauch (Politics&Ideas) and Dena Lomofsky (Southern Hemisphere)
In the first webinar Vanessa and Dena discuss the complexities of MEL for policy influence, highlighting what is unique about it. They later help listeners reflect on the key questions that need to be asked to establish a successful MEL strategy: why will you do MEL, how will the information be used, how much agreement is there on the value of MEL.
In the second webinar the focus is specifically on the MEL strategy, and go over its components, and how to plan for it taking into account what an organisation has in place. They go over what does planning for change entails and then how to assess the results.
The background note produced for this course explores these issues further and gives readers access to further resources
Selected articles and resources
- MEL for think tanks. On Think Tank Series
- CIPPEC (2010) Handbook on monitoring, evaluating and managing knowledge for policy influence
- Mendizabal,E. (2013) A monitoring and evaluation activity for all think tanks: ask what explains your reach. On Think Tanks
- Mendizabal,E. (2013). Monitoring and evaluation: Lessons from Latin American think tanks. On Think Tanks
- Lomofsky,D., Mendizabal,E, Knezovich, J. (2017) Monitoring, evaluation and learning digital dashboard for IFAD. On Think Tanks