MONITORING, EVALUATION, AND LEARNING
AfricAid is committed to learning from our data. Our MEL and Programs teams work closely together to ensure that learning results in action, and we are constantly using data to improve and advance our programs.
What is MEL?
Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) is the process of tracking our Scholars and Alumnae as they learn with us and move on to the adult world, analyzing the data we gather, and using the results to learn and improve. Both the Kisa Project and Binti Shupavu are based on Theories of Change, and we engage in rigorous data collection and analysis to ensure that our theories hold up. We use a variety of measurement tools to gather data on our impact and ensure our programs are making a difference.
What we monitor
Scholar surveys (taken at baseline, endline, and again years after the program has ended) give us a variety of qualitative and quantitative indicators. We learn about how Scholars rate their own confidence and leadership skills, and share the steps they’ve taken such as leading a group or organization or finding a job. Because of our strong Alumnae network, we are able to continue surveying former Scholars for years after they have left our programs, and we use this data to understand our long-term impact.
The Resilience Competencies Scale (taken at baseline and endline) was developed by Dr. Robert Henley, a clinical psychologist, to quantitatively measure resilience in adolescents. Scholars rate their level of agreement with a variety of statements regarding their confidence, community network, ability to problem-solve, and more, and an aggregated score demonstrates their level of resiliency.
Parent surveys are conducted with parents of Binti Shupavu Scholars at baseline and endline. One of the primary aims of Binti Shupavu is to change parental attitudes towards girls’ education, so we ask them their opinion about a variety of contributing factors, including how they feel about educating their sons vs educating their daughters.
National exam data is compared to our Scholars’ exam results to determine their performance compared to their peers, both in general and within their schools. Exam results determine a student’s eligibility to move on to further education, and are thus vital to our Scholars’ success.
Most Significant Change interviews, during which Mentors ask Scholars, Alumnae, community members, and their fellow Mentors about the most significant change in their life that has resulted from involvement with our programs. This innovative survey format reveals detailed stories of impact that are not exposed by traditional methods.
How we evaluate
Data from the sources above is analyzed by our MEL team twice a year, resulting in our Impact Reports. The analysis enables us to understand our impact and share it with our partners and supporters. It also exposes areas where we may be falling short of our goals, and allows us to course-correct quickly to ensure that we are providing the best possible outcomes to our Scholars and Alumnae.
Read our first Impact Report