Canadian Christian Relief & Development Association

Leading M&E through Changing Times

By Tracey DeGraaf, Transformis Development Consultants

The forced lock-down combined with the need to continue programs that are critical for millions of people has tested our investments.  Those investments proved to be what enabled many of us to continue in service, and what is enabling us to offer the greatest service of our lifetime.  The time we took to invest in local leadership, team building, equitable capacity building, and developing programs filled with best practice has enabled us to determine our resolve; or, conversely, a lack of investment has become our Achilles heel.  

Either way, under forced pressure lies immense opportunity.  The acceleration of doing life online presents training opportunities and new knowledge of platforms that can optimize your investments or address that Achilles heel.  

In the CCRDA webinar on November 17 on Leading M&E teams remotely, we presented an M&E platform that enables real time collaboration, offers a tool for building team capacities in M.E.A.L, as well as features an invitation to organizations interested in exploring community-based monitoring.  Times like these force innovation—which is a good outcome—but forced innovation requires us to grow and learn new skill-sets in order to optimize opportunities that are emerging in front of us.  A forced pause in movement presents the opportunity to focus on the E, A, and L of M.E.A.L.  More time given to Evaluation and Learning can force us to examine and apply standards of practice that will enhance our impact.  The need to focus on Accountability in this virtual workplace can accelerate building organizations with accountability systems that empower people and enable their capacities to flourish in any environment (see Teal Organization Paradigm).  

A few tips:

  • Gaps in capacities may be emerging as this pandemic extends the time and distance that separates global teams from one another.  Building feedback loops into processes, meetings, and reports can be a valuable tool for gauging factors that contribute to performance challenges.
  • Take this time to check your investments.  Then, be aware that investment strategies need to change with changing markets.  As changing times are moving fast, we need to move equally fast in our response to it.
  • Explore new ways to gather M&E data by piloting new strategies with small scale samples.  You can get a good confidence level with a relatively small sample. Don’t scale your strategy without scaling the system required to manage it.
  • Innovation requires learning new skills sets.  Allocate time for team members to develop the new skills necessary for optimizing the tools that are emerging, and learn together when possible.

When the storm waters surround you, it is critical to focus your eyes on Jesus and not the waves.  Now is the time to focus on what’s critical and fruitful.  People deliver programs, not the other way around.  Focus on the people to enhance the delivery of programs, and your investments will be fruitful.


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