The Year in Review 2020: New Position, New MEAL System

MEAL stands for ‘monitoring evaluation accountability and learning’. A MEAL officer tracks progress, assesses results, and suggests changes. A MEAL advisor can contribute to fostering change and helping the organisation develop and learn. At RWI, Hanna Johnsson, is the new MEAL officer in place since mid-2020.

Hanna is currently working on creating an RWI approach to MEAL. About this, she says:

“It is important not get stuck with one method no matter what, but rather to find a way of monitoring and evaluating that really works for RWI. This might change over time, too. As we improve our system for MEAL, we will let various methods inspire us. It is key that the way we do it will be easy for everyone to understand and to adopt.”

Hanna is interested in measuring not only tangible results, but also to see what difference our work makes in the long term. We would like to know if we contributed to a positive change and improvement of the human rights situation.

“Do people work differently thanks to the knowledge that we helped them gain?’ ‘What happened to the participants we trained five to ten years ago?’ ‘What difference did our interventions make for people? Or how can we make sure they do?’ I would like us to become even better at answering these questions.”
Hanna Johnsson, RWI Meal Advisor

Toward a cohesive approach

A crucial step towards knowing how to follow up results long-term, is to put a unified system for monitoring and evaluation to use across all programmes in place.

“With my new position, we will aim to streamline the process for MEAL – with a system that would work, more or less, for all of our programmes, no matter geography or focus”, she says.
Sharing knowledge also includes sharing results with external stakeholders – underlining what we have achieved:

“Learning from and sharing our results is investing in future projects”, Hanna believes.

Hanna Johnsson will also support the organisation in becoming more adaptive and agile:

“To use a buzzword from my line of work, I would like us to become better at so-called ‘adaptive programming’. This means that we might have to change plans along the way, to adapt to changes in the political and socio-economic operating environment.” This is where the “learning should come in” she concludes.

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