Dealing with an amazing amount of data on a daily basis is a fundamental task engaging not only all CGIAR Centers and Research Programmes, but also NGOs, national agricultural research systems, private institutions and governments.
From a scientist conducting research in a rural village to metropolitan business hubs, the storing and management of knowledge is essential to programmatic and institutional activities in setting new standards and collecting the fruits of best practices.
Data monitoring and evaluation may externally appear to be a linear process, fixed in a scheme of assumptions and tests to re-examine over and over. However, a quick glance on the inside reveals a magmatic core in constant evolution, where extraordinary capacity development experiences lead to better options for sharing knowledge and conveying the evidence of human achievements to a world-wide audience of rural people, policy-makers, academics, stakeholders, funders and more.
Taking on this challenge, the CGIAR Research Programmes on Dryland Systems (CRP-DS), Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB), Dryland Cereals (CRP-DC) and Grain Legumes (CRP-GL), with the support of their respective lead Centers and the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), have built upon their experiences from the first phase to develop the first multi-centre and multi-CRP online platform: Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL).
MEL is an all-in-one modular structure for planning, management, monitoring, evaluation and reporting. Integrated features cover budget planning, risk assessment, impact pathways, knowledge sharing and more. The flexibility of the platform allows the implementers to re-shape it to meet specific needs, such as customising impact pathways and results frameworks used by CGIAR and donors.
The platform comes with MELSpace, an integrated Open Access repository that boosts the projects outreach, and the knowledge share toolset, which includes project dedicated web-pages and a communication-friendly module to write and disseminate project related blogs.
The platform already supports CGIAR activities of various Programmes and Centers implementing it as the annual reporting tool for 2016. Numerous training webinars have been conducted since its setting up, and support is always available on the platform, with an internal discussion forum, technical assistance chat, User Guide and the webinar videos on MEL Channel.
The overall structure can be easily viewed navigating a side tree, which is publicly accessible in the platform Index, while updated and clear information on projects, activities, and budgets managed through the platform is provided in the Open Facts section.