Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18, marking the start of their lives as wives and mothers well before they are...
The Tipping Point project is using a Developmental Evaluation (DE) approach to monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) which leads to innovation through a focus on documentation, reflection, and learning so that we can refine strategies at every step of the way. Many people naturally experiment, by trying out new ways of doing something, and then changing what they are doing based on feedback loops and changing needs and demands. However, traditional monitoring and evaluation systems do not usually value or support this experimentation. DE creates an environment that encourages experimentation and allows us to measure it by documenting, sharing, and examining the process and results, rather than having them be private.[i]
In the initial phase of the Tipping Point project, we have developed a Theory of Action with each of our teams identifying root causes, actors with whom we must work to address these, some strategies that might be appropriate and what outcomes we could hope to see. In order to refine our TOA and strategies, each country team is engaging in a substantive baseline exercise to deepen our understanding of child marriage (CM) in the target communities. The project team will modify working TOAs after the integrated situational analyses and baseline exercise, and continue to refine them as we learn through our feedback loops and understand what is and isn't working, where new opportunities or roadblocks are emerging, and modify our strategies and monitoring activities in an adaptive and responsive manner.
We will know if this process works if we are able to generate innovation by creating safe spaces for taking risks, trying new strategies, engaging in ongoing documentation processes and outcomes, engage in frequent reflection, and modify our activities based on the emergent learning. Achieving these require substantial investments of time and resources focused on capacity building, documentation, reflective practice, and responsive learning cycles.
Additionally, given the Tipping Point project’s focus on connecting grassroots learning to national and global advocacy, the project’s MEL efforts must also pay attention to horizontal and vertical spheres of influence to enhance our understanding of how learning at one level influences change and learning at other levels. Consequently, the project MEL activities plans to be documenting the outcomes of national level advocacy strategies in Bangladesh , Nepal, and the US, the extent to which learning and evidence generated at the grassroots level can influence national and global advocacy, and the implications of USG policy changes for community level efforts addressing CM in Nepal and Bangladesh.
[i] Gamble, J. (2008). A Developmental Evaluation Primer. The J. W. McConnell Family Foundation. Available at: http://www.mcconnellfoundation.ca/en/resources/publication/a-development...