CARE’s comprehensive MEL system enhances performance and impact


What makes this practice exemplary?

CARE International (CI) is committed to adhering to international standards of quality and accountability, leading to the implementation of various standards and tools to continuously assess their program effectiveness and their contribution to impact, involving CARE staff and the communities they work with. The CARE International Secretariat maintains a leading coordination role in developing and implementing those standards and tools for assessing program effectiveness and impact, including the following:



  • The CI Performance Standards of Country Presence: Approved and communicated across the confederation in Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12), the Performance Standards include detailed measures of success to inform CARE offices’ adherence to critical operational functions leading to program effectiveness and impact, including monitoring, evaluation and accountability issues. A baseline assessment was undertaken in FY14 and two subsequent assessments have been undertaken, providing three years of valuable input on how programs deliver against their commitments, measure their contribution to impact, share learning inside and outside CARE and generate easily accessible information.

    This information and analysis is shared across C members and country office leadership; and the operations directors of all CI members working with the CI Secretariat, have reviewed the findings annually. The analysis has enabled CARE to determine better how to provide targeted support to areas that require improvement, with the benefit of multi-year data and visibility, or to identify shifts (progress or regression) in key performance areas that may indicate the need for proactive or pre-emptive response and intervention.

  • CARE’s Evaluation Policy and CARE’s global Approach to Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, provide with guidance to how CARE programs demonstrate, document and share evidence and learning of CARE’s contribution to social change.


  • Rapid Accountability Reviews and After Action Reviews: CARE’s Humanitarian Accountability Framework requires Country Offices that respond to a large-scale emergency to hold an After Action Review, typically preceded by a Rapid Accountability Review, within a few months of the disaster event. The primary objectives of this exercise are to contribute to CARE’s understanding of its emergency response and to promote learning and accountability.

    For major emergency responses, an Emergency Response Advisory Committee is often established, which is composed of senior staff from CARE members who are supporting the response. Since 2013 CARE ensures that there is an adequate management response to the lessons and recommendations from the performance reviews of all major emergency responses. For those, a specific emergency advisory committee is in charge to review progress based on the reports of the Crisis Coordination Group and the response team. Lessons and recommendations from all response reviews are summarized on an annual basis and higher level recommendations formulated to address specific organisational and institutional trends and challenges.

  • The Electronic Evaluation Library, supported by CARE’s Evaluation Policy, is the platform that enables external accountability and transparency on CARE’s contribution to impact. The library places important pieces of external evaluations in the public domain (terms of reference, findings, lessons learned and recommendations) of both development and humanitarian action.

  • CARE’s Program Information and Impact Reporting System (PIIRS) continued operating during the reporting period. Through annual surveying process, PIIRS has gathered, processed and disseminated basic information on the characteristics of CARE’s projects and the participants reached in four financial years (FY12, FY13, FY14 and FY15). The information is hosted in a single web-based platform accessible to all CARE staff and PIIRS dedicates considerable effort to the generation of customised reports for CARE Country Offices, Regions, CARE members, etc., with a strong emphasis on improving data quality each year. PIIRS will expand in the next fiscal years, incorporating the capturing of evidence on impact and outcomes from projects implemented around the world. This responding to the priorities and commitments of the CARE 2020 Program Strategy.

  • In-depth Impact Reports and partner surveys: In FY14, CARE carried out an in-depth assessment and meta-evaluation of its work to tackle gender-based violence. In FY15, a similar process started for the elaboration of:

    • A report focused on CARE’s work on Sexual, Reproductive and Maternal Health –not yet published
    • The report “Empowering Women and Girls Affected by Crisis”, published in FY16. This report focused on analysing CARE’s work facilitating gender equality in humanitarian programming in 87 emergencies/50 countries, from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2015.


An important element of this report included an online survey – planned in FY15 and carried out in FY16 – to assess how partners and allies view CARE’s work empowering women and girls in crises. Near to 50 responses were received from representatives of international and national NGOs and government agencies, as well as several multilateral organizations and donor agencies. Over 70% of respondents indicated they worked with CARE as in implementing partner in one or more emergency responses.

Find out more

Read the full accountability report