MSD in MEL Clinics Series: Perspectives on Systemic Change, Team Culture, and Private Sector Learning
These three briefs capture the practical experiences and perspectives of senior monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) specialists leading innovative MEL on market systems development (MSD) programs around the world. The resources are:
- Practitioners' Guidance to Assessing Systems Change;
- Building a Team Culture for Adaptive Management in MSD: 5 Strategies MEL Managers Say Work; and
- Enhancing Partner and Systems-Level Learning: 8 Tips from MEL Managers
In 2021, 13 specialists from 12 countries — working on programs funded by USAID, DFAT, Sida, and SDC — participated in a series of interactive discussions organized into thematic groups. These participant-authored papers are the outputs from these 'clinics,' which were hosted by USAID through the Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships Activity.
Practitioners' Guidance to Assessing Systems Change
Rather than viewing systems change assessments as a backward-looking exercise to be conducted at the end of a program to justify impact, this guide challenges MEL managers to assess systems change as an ongoing aspect of implementation, generating feedback that teams need to better understand and catalyze change, leaving a more impactful legacy.
This guide is organized into four interactive parts: (1) bounding the system, (2) defining outcomes, (3) assessing degrees of changes, and (4) establishing contribution. It presents practical tips, resources, rubrics, templates, analysis frameworks and team reflection and planning exercises.
Unfolding step-by-step throughout the guide is a single case of an agricultural input system in a relatively thin market in sub-Saharan Africa, which illustrates what application in real-life might look like.
This brief was developed by Dun Grover (ACDI/VOCA), Meghan Bolden (MarketShare Associates / LINC LLC), Lina Henao (iDE), David Okutu (Mercy Corps), Zulkarnaen Nasution (Palladium) and Zakaria Tavberidze (Mercy Corps) for DAI.
Building a Team Culture for Adaptive Management in MSD: 5 Strategies MEL Managers Say Work
Many resources on adaptive management rightfully focus on the important role that leaders play in shaping a program team’s culture. This short brief complements these resources by focusing specifically on the distinct and valuable role that MEL Managers can play in actively contributing to a culture that supports implementation of an MSD approach.
The strategies include tips on cultivating capacity in the MEL team to have a journalistic style, investing in monitoring and communicating early signs of change, and involving non-traditional sources.
This brief was developed by Anna Garloch (MarketShare Associates) with Henok Begashaw (iDE), Dania Hussein (independent), Raul Pitoro (DAI), and Ajla Vilogorac (Palladium) for DAI.
Enhancing Partner and Systems-Level Learning: 8 Tips from MEL Managers
Effective learning is a key driver of market systems change, with the potential to enhance system competitiveness, resilience and inclusiveness. Building on the insights from a related resource, Shifting the Locus of Learning: Catalyzing Private Sector Learning to Drive Systemic Change, this paper spotlights eight tips from MEL managers.
These tips include identifying the right decision-makers, using a co-creation process to identify learning opportunities, using a phased capacity strengthening process tied to behavior change, working with sector-level institutions, and using the right terminology to talk about learning.
This brief was developed by Ben Fowler (MarketShare Associates) with Erka Caro (SwissContact), Hana Hoxha (DT Global), and Ritesh Prasad (Adam Smith International) for DAI.