Programs & Projects

Balanced Design, Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (BalanceD-MERL)

October 26, 2016 - November 26, 2017


WDI’s Performance Measurement Initiative is part of two consortiums under the Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning Innovations Program (MERLIN) endeavor that were awarded funding from USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab to test and implement innovative approaches to measuring development impact. On the BalanceD-MERL mechanism, along with four other consortium members, WDI is developing new methods to deliberately balance integration across all aspects of design, monitoring, evaluation, research and learning (D-MERL). This is to create sustainable improvements in the program, resulting in lasting positive impacts on the program’s target audience. This balance is carried out by incorporating four key principles into a program’s D-MERL: relevant, responsible, right-sized, and trustworthy.

The BalanceD-MERL consortium is testing these new methods in two technical assistance pilots; in one pilot, BalanceD-MERL has developed a MERL strategy for the program that also allows for adaptive management while in the other, the consortium is conducting endline evaluation activities.

The BalanceD-MERL consortium consists of World Vision (prime), Innovations for Poverty Action, Institute for Development Impact, Search for Common Ground, The William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.

This article is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of WDI and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government. This article was produced by the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in collaboration with World Vision under the BalanceD-MERL Program, Cooperative Agreement Number AID-OAA-A-15-00061, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.


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