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Activity Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Plan

For A&A awards, implementing partners must submit a proposed Activity MEL Plan to the COR/AOR in accordance with the guidelines in their award or agreement, often within 90 days of an award.

An implementing partner typically proposes the Activity MEL Plan. ADS 201 states that it is then the COR/AOR’s responsibility to review, collaborate on any necessary changes, and approve or concur with the plan.

Key components of the Activity MEL Plan typically include:

  • The activity’s monitoring approach, including relevant performance indicators of activity outputs and outcomes;
  • Plans for collaborating with any external evaluations planned by the Mission or Washington OU;
  • Any proposed internal evaluations;
  • Learning activities, including knowledge capture at activity close out;
  • Estimated resources for these monitoring, evaluation and learning activities that are a part of the implementing partner’s budget; and
  • Roles and responsibilities for all proposed monitoring, evaluation and learning actions.
  • The Activity MEL Plan should be revised as needed in response to changes in the activity or context that occur during the life of the activity.

To help USAID partners prepare activity level MEL plans, ADS 201 includes a How To Note as an additional help document. This How to Note is shown as the featured reading on this page. USAID/Vietnam has taken its assistance to partners on activity MEL plans by creating a template for these plans which other Missions can download from this page.

Internal Evaluations

USAID performance and impact evaluations generally comply with USAID’s requirement for having an external team leader. However USAID’s Evaluation Policy and the ADS recognize that evaluations carried out by USAID staff and by implementing partners for their own learning purposes also have a place.

ADS 201 therefore defines an evaluation that is either: 1) commissioned by USAID in which the evaluation team leader is USAID staff (a USAID internal evaluation); or 2) conducted or commissioned by an implementing partner—or consortium of implementing partner and evaluator—concerning their own activity (an implementer internal evaluation).