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Reinforcement of Monitoring and Learning Capacities for Tostan

Itad is providing a core team to strengthen and refine the monitoring, evaluation, research and learning (MERL) efforts of Tostan in West Africa.


Tostan’s mission is to “empower African communities to bring about sustainable development and positive social transformation based on respect for human rights”. Tostan works in eight African countries, primarily in West Africa implementing and refining its Community Empowerment Program (CEP), the goal of which is to provide holistic, participatory, non-formal education to adults and adolescents who live in rural African areas and have not had access to formal schooling.

Our role

Itad’s role is to work with Tostan’s core team to strengthen and refine the monitoring, evaluation, research and learning (MERL) efforts of Tostan in West Africa, to create a system that will enable effective capturing and demonstration of results, improved internal and external learning and advocacy, and stronger, evidence-based management decision-making which will strengthen Tostan’s position and work for years to come.

Our approach

Itad is fielding a highly skilled bilingual team, with the range of skills and experience needed to implement this assignment successfully. Our methodology recognises two separate focus areas for this assignment – human and systemic capacity development – although in reality these two areas have significant overlap and both have elements that are functions of the interaction with the other. Interviews and surveys are being undertaken with Tostan staff in each country to gather information on staff needs and capacities, supplementing this with our own review of documents. The organisational capacity will also be addressed using a detailed, adapted set of capacity assessment tools.

This information will be used as basis for the development of the two key frameworks for this assignment: one relating to the MERL system itself; and secondly the two training programmes for the core MERL staff, and the training-of-trainers. In parallel, we will be designing the monitoring system, which will involve two broad areas: firstly the conceptual understanding of the system and the key concepts that relate to its design and operation; and secondly the management information system itself.

Image © Tostan Class Photo Credit: Kate