USAID How To Note: Activity Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Plan

This How to Guide provides information on the desired format and content of an activity level MEL plan. It describes the monitoring, evaluation and learning components to be drafted for such plans.



Monitoring and Evaluation for a Government to Government (G2G) Agreement 
G2G activities are a subset of the activities USAID-funds. Under G2G activities USAID country partners lead the implementation of the activity, and they assume responsibilities for reporting on progress and performance. This ADS 201 Additional Help document provides insights and instruction on the development and implementation of MEL Plans for G2G activities

Monitoring and Evaluation in Post-Conflict Settings
Post-conflict situations are particularly challenging from and M&E perspective. This volume addresses some of the key issues that should be considered when developing an MEL plan for this type of environment.

USAID/Vietnam Activity M&E Plan Template
On its tools page, USAID/Vietnam includes an Activity MEL Plan template. This template can be downloaded and used by other Missions to customize their activity MEL Plans consistent with ADS 201 and the Agency’s How To guide on this task.

Seven Steps to Developing a Monitoring and Evaluation Work Plan
From the Family Health International (FHI) Core Module 3, Facilitator’s Training Guide, this handout provides a useful overview of the elements of an M∓E work plan without being too detailed with respect to the exact terminology to be used.

The Barefoot Guide
This series of three guides can help activity level teams integrate learning into their approach to project management as well as monitoring and evaluation.

For A&A awards, implementing partners must submit a proposed Activity MEL Plan to the COR/AOR in accordance with the guidelines in their award or agreement, often within 90 days of an award.

An implementing partner typically proposes the Activity MEL Plan. ADS 201 states that it is then the COR/AOR’s responsibility to review, collaborate on any necessary changes, and approve or concur with the plan.

Key components of the Activity MEL Plan typically include:

  • The activity’s monitoring approach, including relevant performance indicators of activity outputs and outcomes;
  • Plans for collaborating with any external evaluations planned by the Mission or Washington OU;
  • Any proposed internal evaluations;
  • Learning activities, including knowledge capture at activity close out;
  • Estimated resources for these monitoring, evaluation and learning activities that are a part of the implementing partner’s budget; and
  • Roles and responsibilities for all proposed monitoring, evaluation and learning actions.
  • The Activity MEL Plan should be revised as needed in response to changes in the activity or context that occur during the life of the activity.

To help USAID partners prepare activity level MEL plans, ADS 201 includes a How To Note as an additional help document. This How to Note is shown as the featured reading on this page. USAID/Vietnam has taken its assistance to partners on activity MEL plans by creating a template for these plans which other Missions can download from this page.

Internal Evaluations

USAID performance and impact evaluations generally comply with USAID’s requirement for having an external team leader. However USAID’s Evaluation Policy and the ADS recognize that evaluations carried out by USAID staff and by implementing partners for their own learning purposes also have a place.

ADS 201 therefore defines an evaluation that is either: 1) commissioned by USAID in which the evaluation team leader is USAID staff (a USAID internal evaluation); or 2) conducted or commissioned by an implementing partner—or consortium of implementing partner and evaluator—concerning their own activity (an implementer internal evaluation).



A toolkit developed and implemented by:
Office of Trade and Regulatory Reform
Bureau of Economic Growth, Education, and Environment
US Agency for International Development (USAID)

For more information, please contact Paul Fekete.

Activity MEL Plan