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Locally Led Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning

For local partners new to working with USAID, the Agency’s monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) requirements can be challenging to navigate. At the same time, MEL can be a valuable opportunity for local partners to learn from and improve their programming, while USAID can shift power to local stakeholders. This section of Learning Lab highlights guidance, tools, and examples that will support USAID and its partners in applying a locally led approach to MEL. Check back often for new resources!

What is Locally Led MEL?

Locally led development (LLD) is not a single approach, but a range of ways that USAID, its partners, and communities can work together to shift agenda-setting and decision-making power to local stakeholders. USAID considers locally led development as a spectrum of approaches in which USAID can facilitate increased local leadership in our humanitarian and development work, including MEL planning and implementation. Our goal, over time, is for our work to increasingly fall on the right-hand side of the spectrum:

Locally Led Spectrum

Learn more about the Locally Led Development Spectrum.

LLD principles can be applied to MEL practices by prioritizing measures of success that reflect local priorities, creating meaningful stakeholder feedback processes, and supporting local partners’ efforts to learn and adapt throughout their activities. One key approach to locally led MEL is to co-create MEL plans that bring in local partners’, leadership, resources, and capacity; and make use of flexibilities in USAID’s MEL requirements to measure what matters to local stakeholders.

Guidance and Tools

Locally Led MEL in Action

Evidence for Locally Led Development (LLD)

What does it mean for USAID programs to be locally led? USAID held consultations with over 300 local and international organizations and 22 USAID Missions, who shared what actions advance local leadership in their work. This blog details the consultation and analysis process that underpinned the new Locally Led Programs indicator which will enable us to better understand the approaches we use to advance locally led development. 

Nine Ways Direct Local Partnerships are Good for Development. Through its Local Works program, USAID/Serbia has advanced democracy and governance objectives under six activities, directly implemented by Serbian organizations. This internal evaluation examines the factors that facilitated LLD processes in the Mission, the link between these enablers and ways of working with local partners, as well as the development benefits of working in a locally led way.  

Locally Led Development Research. USAID supports locally led development research to generate new knowledge, tools, and approaches that empower local actors and contribute to USAID’s knowledge and practice of locally led development.