Planning and practice in monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning

Learn how to design and set up a monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) system for your project or programme.

Course dates

This course introduces key MEAL trends, systems and tools and uses a case study to give you hands-on experience in designing a MEAL plan. You will also have the opportunity to share experiences, challenges and lessons of doing MEAL with peers.

The course complements and builds on our Introduction to MEAL course. If you're looking for practice using a range of MEAL tools, take this course together with Tools and methods for MEAL.

Course structure 

Three half days of live interactive online sessions, plus individual and group work and a facilitator coaching session.

Total time commitment over the period of the course is 16 hours:

  • 10.5 hours of live online sessions
  • 4 hours of self-paced activities
  • 1 hour of optional 'office hour' live session 

Who is it for?

This course is for people with some experience of monitoring and evaluation, who want a deeper understanding of how to design and set up a MEAL system for either a project or programme. Principles can also be adapted for organisational strategies. 

What you will learn

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Follow a systematic approach to MEAL system design
  • Develop a MEAL plan
  • Write MEAL questions and define key indicators
  • Decide on appropriate tools for different MEAL processes
  • Describe key elements of an evaluation plan
  • Choose appropriate approaches to communicate MEAL system findings with different stakeholders


This course will be delivered entirely online, through facilitated live sessions (using Zoom) as well as individual and group activities on the Bond learning platform. We work hard to make sure you get the same level of interaction and facilitator support as you would in our training room. You’ll work in breakout rooms, use case studies and co-create documents – all online

1: Why do MEAL? Current MEAL trends and drivers 

  • Why organisations invest in MEAL systems 
  • A brief overview of key current MEAL trends and implications for organisations

2: Overview of MEAL cycle/system

3: Key terms used in MEAL

  • Recap on key terms used in MEAL: goal (impact), outcome, output
  • Introduction to case study: reviewing programme goal and outcomes

4: Developing a systematic MEAL plan; purpose and key audiences

  • Introduction to a systematic approach for developing a MEAL system and plan 
  • Group work: defining the purpose of a MEAL system and key audiences

5: Defining key MEAL questions and indicators 

  • The purpose of MEAL questions and indicators
  • Group work: defining key MEAL questions and indicators 

6: Introduction to MEAL methods and tools

  • Overview of tools used in MEAL processes
  • The use and how to limit the abuse of tools
  • Practice using a simple survey tool and analysing qualitative and quantitative evaluation data 

7: Deciding MEAL plan methods and tools for case study

  • Group work: deciding on key data collection methods and tools 
  • Complete MEAL plans for peer review

8: Peer review of MEAL plans

  • Practice presenting a MEAL plan
  • Practice giving constructive feedback on a MEAL plan

9: Evaluation approaches

  • Overview of evaluation approaches and examples
  • Group work: designing an evaluation process
  • Share and review evaluation plans

10: Communicating MEAL results

  • Group work: communicating findings to different audiences

11: Practical solutions for addressing MEAL

  • Open space: practical solutions for addressing participant gaps in MEAL
  • Open forum for remaining questions and discussion points


All live session times refer to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Check the live session start and end time in your timezone here (please ensure you choose the right date when checking timezones).

Pre-course activity: approximately 75 minutes' work required before live session 1

Live session 1: Monday 8th February, 3.5 hour session, 9.30 - 13.00 GMT

Group task: 60 minutes' work required between live session 1 and 2

Live session 2: Wednesday 10th February, 3.5 hour session, 9.30 - 13.00 GMT

Group task: 60 minutes' work required between live session 2 and 3

Live session 3: Thursday 11th February, 1 hour optional 'office hours' (times to be announced)

Group task: 30 minutes' work required between live session 3 and 4

Live session 4: Friday 12th February, 3.5 hour session, 9.30 - 13.00 GMT

30 minutes' individual work following the live session

Booking deadline

Bookings will close at 15:00 GMT on the last working day day before the course to enable us to email participants the joining instructions ahead of the first live session.

Course prices

Band 1


Band 2

Bond members >£2M annual spend

Band 3

Bond members <£2M annual spend

* 10% off if you book 8 weeks in advance; 5% off 3 or more bookings.

Contact us for special discounts if you're a student or unemployed.


off if you book early*


off multiple bookings*

Event dates

Monday, February 8, 2021 to Friday, February 12, 2021

10 places available


Photo of trainer Sue Coe

Sue Coe has worked in international development for has worked for more than 30 years in wide-ranging programming, effectiveness and fundraising roles. Sue specialises in equality considerations and social inclusion in development work.

Sue has worked in international development for over 20 years. Now working as an independent consultant she has undertaken a variety of work with a focus on M&E regularly leading evaluations for funders including the World Bank, UN, EU and DFID.