Workshop 3. The Global Evaluation Initiative’s Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Analysis (MESA) tool: a step toward a resilient national M&E Ecosystem


Trainers: Edoé Djimitri Agbodjan, Takunda Chirau, and Lycia Lima
Level: Beginner/ Intermediate
Language: English (The team will be able to answer questions and facilitate group work in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish as well)

Workshop description: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that a “robust, voluntary, effective, participatory, transparent and integrated follow-up and review framework will make a vital contribution to implementation and will help countries to maximize and track progress in implementing this Agenda in order to ensure that no one is left behind.”

It further highlights the importance of country-led evaluation and high-quality disaggregated data. Generating data and conducting evaluations to inform policymaking requires a “national evaluation system”, a complex set of arrangements of people, processes, and institutions that operate within a wider enabling environment.

This workshop will explore this idea of a “national evaluation system” and key component of successful systems, providing participants with the opportunity to consider the strengths and opportunities that exist within their own national systems, and gather ideas for innovation from the trainers and fellow participants. The workshop explores the national M&E System within the context of the Global Evaluation Initiative and how it supports countries in establishing and strengthening their national M&E systems. For the GEI, these systems do not mean just the feedback systems that may guide program implementation or discrete evaluation studies that may be done. What it means is a country’s overall ecosystem around M&E - all the structures, attitudes, incentives, approaches, policies, laws, behaviours, skills and abilities that contribute to whether robust monitoring, evaluation, and evidence use happens.

In order to strengthen a national M&E system, it is first necessary to answer two overarching questions:

  • What does the country’s M&E ecosystem already have in place?
  • Based on good practice, as well as a strong understanding of country needs and preferences, what are the opportunities to further strengthen the M&E ecosystem?

To answer these questions, the GEI uses a collaborative diagnostic tool called the Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Analysis (MESA). The MESA tool is a comprehensive and detailed guidance for facilitating the analysis of existing national monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems and capacities. A MESA is intended to inform national strategies for strengthening country M&E systems and contribute to the enhanced use of evidence in policymaking.

This interactive workshop will introduce the concept of and typical key elements of an effective national M&E ecosystem, as well as present the MESA tool. Participants will have an opportunity to assess (fictitious) countries using a simplified version of the MESA and provide an opportunity to ask, where is my country, in terms of their maturity and strength around the institutionalization, implementation of the system, the technical capabilities, and the use of evidence? What lessons could my country bring to the discussion around strengthening national M&E ecosystems? What are some of the good practices in place?

The workshop will allow the participants to articulate what is already in place in their country, visualize what they need in their countries, what is feasible, and how the GEI and its partners could assist them, through analysis of case scenarios built for purpose and experience sharing between the facilitators and the participants.

Learning outcomes:

Upon successfully completing this course, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate the key elements of a national M&E ecosystem;
  • Appreciate the benefits of doing an assessment of the current state of affairs of a country's M&E system; and
  • Identify opportunities for strengthening their own country’s M&E system.