Establishing a new M&E unit - tips?


Hi all,

Did you ever join an organization where you were mandated to establish a new M&E department/unit? What is the first thing you did and what tips you might share with us?



I was mandated to create an M&E system at Amnesty. First place to start for me, was to have conversations with staff across all levels of the org about their MEL capacity needs. Building trust and finding the MEL champions was a priority (and still is).

These conversations helped me develop an “impact” strategy, so that senior directors and chiefs knew the long-term vision. I’m now facilitating MEL workshops to help folks learn basic M&E concepts, with the end goal of them applying evaluative thinking into their work planning. In the next year, once there is data collected, I’ll help them evaluate program outcomes or contract external consultants to assist.

With that being said, organizational change is not easy but it is incredibly rewarding!


This is very helpful @Zehra.Mirza. Finding M&E champions is very essential, specially in an organization that is not used to M&E or that thinks M&E is just reporting.

What do you mean by your impact strategy? Is it different from your M&E plan?


I used to establish my M&E departments at funded projects, where all the basics are there and it is just a matter or organizing things and developing a plan and tools. But it is more challanging when the organization has a new M&E mandate.


I’m interested in any answers that people have to this question too! Thanks for the helpful reply, Zehra.


Hi all,

Yes, an Impact Strategy meaning a baseline foundation of how the organization will even approach M&E.

This is different than a M&E plan where a strategy/framework already exists and it is a matter of putting together a data collection plan with evaluation questions etc. We will build these out more in-depth when the needs arise, but since we are starting from scratch, we had to first agree on how we are defining and approaching “impact assessment.”


Thanks for the clarification @Zehra. Yes impact evaluation is the hardest part, specially it is long terms