April 01, 2021     cib    

On the afternoon of March 31st, together with over 25 CIB members we launched the CIB guidance note on Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (M&E&L) in times of COVID-19. Independent M&E&L consultant Kaia Ambrose presented the outcomes of the survey and interviews with different CIB members, differentiating between ‘the good’ and ‘the frustrating’ of this very relevant aspect of international cooperation by local governments in COVID times.

Key M&E&L considerations in distant times
Based on her earlier conversations with CIB members, Kaia Ambrose shared some of the key M&E&L considerations to take into account in distant times:

  • Take a step back:  Review your M&E framework to make sure the basics are in place (these should be there regardless of COVID-19!)
  • Retrofit to pivot: Look at scope, look at mixed methods or adjust tools, timing…
  • Embrace technology: Not only for data collection, but also to improve reflection and sense-making, which can be an ultimate opportunity in continuing building relationships.
  • Consider equality:  Whose voice is being heard? How can those voices that count be heard?
  • Get creative, and be comfortable with ‘good enough’!

Learning from the M&E&L practice of ICLD and SALGA
After highlighting the main recommendations of the note, Kaia Ambrosekicked-off a more in-depthconversation with CIB members on the topic. Ana Maria Vargas (Swedish ICLD) and Lance Joel (South African Local Government Association SALGA) joined in in a fireside chat, in which they shared some first-hand experiences.They concluded, among others, that ‘during COVID-19 times, (no) access to technology has become a decisive factor for how successful and participative MEL is.’

Trusting your local partner
The exchange continued with contributions by Sara Hoeflich (UCLG Learning), Cemal Bas (UMT), Najat Zarrouk (UCLG Africa) and others, who all stressed the importance of trust and true partnerships with local partners to successfully monitor, evaluate and learn in international cooperation, 'We risk that the attention for learning decreases as crisis management/daily issues take up most of our time - but (mutual) learning remains crucial.'

The guidance note will be shared shortly through a CIB circular, website and the CIB WhatsApp group (in EN, FR and ES!). Feel free to use it in your programmes and share it with your partners!

CIB will continue to focus on this relevant topic and welcomes everyone to join our M&E community!
Please contact us at 
uclg.cib@vng.nl for more information.