Are you current on your acronyms? What to know about M&E vs. MERL

Zanzibar malaria surveillance officers being trained on using RTI's coconut system for malaria case follow-up. The transition from M&E to MERL “will entail as much change management as the switch to tech-enabled M&E has involved,” according to Kerry Bruce, chief measurement and impact evaluation officer at Global Fund to End Slavery. Photo by: Mike McKay / CC BY-SA

Technology continues to disrupt the monitoring and evaluation operating environment, and the field itself is morphing to more readily embrace research on effectiveness and a focus on organizational learning.

In other words, M&E as we know it is blurring with research and learning to hatch a new acronym: MERL. Positions posted on Devex are increasingly reflecting the need for “MERL” advisers, and practitioners in the space are focused on improving the quality, capacity, ethics and security of data collection — while everything from mobile phones to remote sensors are creating new ethical and privacy challenges, along with security risks.

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About the author

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    Kelli Rogers

    Kelli Rogers is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Bangkok, she covers disaster and crisis response, innovation, women’s rights, and development trends throughout Asia. Prior to her current post, she covered leadership, careers, and the USAID implementer community from Washington, D.C. Previously, she reported on social and environmental issues from Nairobi, Kenya. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and has since reported from more than 20 countries.