DevTech’s flagship Monitoring and Evaluation activity is its USAID/Nigeria Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (MEL) contract. The goal of the Nigeria MEL activity is to transform USAID/Nigeria into a premier practitioner of program monitoring and evaluation rooted in a learning and adaptive culture. In the spirit of adaptive learning Nigeria MEL has designed and facilitated MEPOC meetings.
MEPOC is an acronym for Monitoring and Evaluation Point of Contact. The MEPOC meetings serve as unique fora in the USAID/Nigeria MEL Activity where the DevTech team interacts with members of the USAID Program Office (PRO) and the five USAID technical offices (TOs). In the initial design, attendance to the meetings was limited to only the designated M&E PoCs from each of the technical offices, but the outputs from the meetings over time has generated interest and resulted in the inclusion of any member of the TOs who are interested in attending the meetings.
The MEPOC meetings provide an opportunity for cross learning and collaboration between members of different TOs within USAID, and between USAID and the MEL Activity. Consequently, these meetings break down any silos that may exist between the USAID TOs as they allow members from the offices to gain insights into the activities and operations of other offices. Additionally, MEPOC meetings also act as a unique form of ‘pause and reflect’ sessions by PRO, which manages the MEL Activity contract for USAID, as members of the MEL Activity also get to participate in these sessions and solutions are commonly determined in the best way to benefit the activity. PRO also uses these meetings to provide updates on goings-on at the Mission as well as to give a heads-up on upcoming activities/support. This upfront communication allows the team to be better prepared.
One of the most significant outcomes of the MEPOC meetings have been the direct feedback from members of the different technical offices on various support tasks provided by the MEL Activity. The meetings have also improved planning and coordination between PRO and the MEL Activity. Because MEL has modeled what a successful MEPOC meeting can achieve, the Peace, Democracy, and Governance (PDG) technical office as adopted the model and now uses it was all implemented partners under its purview. PDG now organizes quarterly MEPOC meetings with its IPs to address any implementation issues, as well as discuss and align with a common understanding of performance indicators reported by and between IPs. The MEL Activity is working with PRO to encourage other technical offices to adopt this model, as PDG has recorded significant improvements in the timeliness, reliability, and accuracy of data it receives from its IPs due to these regular interactions where implementation problems are addressed commonly and clarifications provided by PDG management.
The meetings have also provided an opportunity for brainstorming sessions that strengthen collaboration on challenges/issues, planning and implementation of various tasks, within the MEL Activity. It creates opportunities of sharing lessons learned, experiences and innovative approaches that benefit other activities.
To read more about Nigeria MEL please see the project page here.