The JLI MEAL Hub (Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability & Learning) has launched a Compendium of Good Practices. The 'Compendium of Good Practices on Conducting MEAL in Partnerships with International Actors and Local Faith Actors' bridges the knowledge gap on how international and local faith actors practice MEAL in a diverse range of development and humanitarian contexts. It seeks to help overcome some of the tensions that can occur in international-local faith partnerships due to conflicting aims, priorities and capacities in the area of MEAL.
The Compendium is based on more than 30 interviews with representatives of secular and faith-based international organisations, local faith actors, and academics, and consists of three sections:
Part I, covering methodology and an exploration on the opportunities and challenges of doing MEAL in international-local faith partnerships; Part II, a selection of 10 stories of change that illustrate the diversity of MEAL practices; and Part III, a list of recommended resources, research participants, and a glossary.
The Compendium also includes alternative practices of MEAL beyond Western, secular or Christian approaches. "By sharing a diversity of practices in the area of MEAL and faith in international-local partnerships, we hope the Compendium will contribute to the normalisation of decolonised approaches in the sector." said Dr Jennifer Philippa Eggert, Senior Research Associate at JLI and author of the Compendium.
The launch event included an introduction to the Compendium, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A, and will feature contributions from JLI, Adyan Foundation (Lebanon), Eagles Relief & Development Programme (Malawi), International Care Ministries (Philippines), Soka Gakkai International (Japan), Alliance for Peacebuilding (US), and KAICIID (Austria).
MEAL Hub was founded in 2019
Faith actors have long been involved in initiatives aimed at improving the wellbeing and health of communities. While much of the international system continues to be characterised by secular approaches, there is an increasing awareness of the contribution of faith communities to development and humanitarian aid, which goes hand in hand with a recognition that international secular approaches are not always suited for engagements with local faith actors. While some areas related to faith and development/humanitarian aid are relatively well-researched, there is limited knowledge about Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL), and faith.
As a response to this gap in our knowledge on faith-based approaches in the development/humanitarian sector, Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI) members founded the JLI MEAL Hub in autumn 2019. Convened by the JLI, the Hub focuses on MEAL in local-international partnerships with a faith element. It includes members from a wide range of secular and faith-based organizations interested in working on topics relevant to MEAL with/as faith actors.