Guidance for Building a Balanced D-MERL System in a Post Response Recovery

Guidance for Building a Balanced D-MERL System in a Post Response Recovery

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The Balanced Design, Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (BalanceD-MERL) consortium under the U.S. Global Development Lab’s Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning Innovations (MERLIN) program at USAID is testing how balanced integration across all aspects of D-MERL enables teams to rapidly learn and incorporate findings into program design.

The consortium conducted an endline performance evaluation and data quality verification activity for the Global Health Ebola Team within the USAID Global Health Bureau. The Global Health Ebola Team managed a portfolio of activities aimed at addressing the second order impacts of the unprecedented Ebola virus disease outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone between 2014 and 2016. The following publications were produced from this work,




The 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea devastated local health systems. Affected communities suffered a catastrophic loss of life. This created an urgent need to support survivors. A lack of real-time information further compounded the effects. Responding to this crisis, the Global Health Ebola Team (GHET), situated in the Global Health Bureau of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), oversaw a $150.5 million portfolio of health-related projects falling under Pillar II of the US Government response between January 2015 and October 2018. The GHET program included 23 separate activities, carried out by 12 implementing partners (IPs) at national and regional levels across the three countries.

In May 2016, GHET approached the BalanceD-MERL consortium to request support with its monitoring, evaluation, and learning needs. As part of this engagement, the BalanceD-MERL consortium conducted: (1) a deep dive assessment of program and partner D-MERL and a high level review of GHET Strategy, MERL frameworks and performance monitoring systems to inform recommendations to improve the effectiveness of GHET’s monitoring and utilization of data for program decision making; (2) an endline performance evaluation of the GHET survivor-specific program; and (3) a data quality verification of 55 indicators against standard data quality criteria. In the future, a separate case study on the engagement will address specific D-MERL activities implemented and the BalanceD-MERL consortium’s internal learning about its own work. 

Publication Information

Year: 2019

Country: Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia

Region: West Africa Region 

Type: Technical Guidance Document

Language: English


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