About this Research Topic
Rigorous, integrated monitoring evaluation and learning (MEL) systems can support quality and scalable interventions to improve health and development. Early Child Development (ECD) provides an important landscape in which to critically explore the use of evidence in the transition of interventions to scale. Child Development is complex, covering multiple domains, and multiple layers of context-specific influence that act upon that development.
A welcome development in recent years has been the focus on results, or outcomes. However, outcome measurement to evaluate only the end point of an implementation process (measurement OF change) fails to capture the true complexity of the process of change. In response, there is increased attention to the need for measurement that is part of a continuous, dynamic progression, guide decision-making through the course of implementation (measurement FOR change).
Papers in this Research Topic explore the concept of measurement for change (or M4C). They will provide a real-life mirror to these developments by exploring the translation of MEL systems into practice. These papers will reflect on the actual MEL experiences of ECD implementing teams working in under-served communities, mainly in the global south, throughout the implementation cycle. Each paper will take a detailed look at the reality of applying MEL, and measurement FOR change in particular, test the feasibility of assumptions, illustrate the use, potential usefulness, and the limitations of different measurement FOR change approaches in adapting ECD projects and achieving scale.
For example, it will explore questions such as:
1. What does it mean for design and scaling decisions to be evidence informed?
2. Can MEL contribute to decision-making that actively includes stakeholders, including beneficiaries?
3. Can MEL adequately capture interactions between participants in the system to better understand the source of variability in outcome?
4. Can MEL support the design of programmes that move beyond the average, and become more responsive to specific and/ or individualised needs?
Through the exploration of these practical experiences, this series will shed important light on the effective use of MEL in generating improved ECD outcomes and scale.
We would like to acknowledge Dr. Penny Holding, Dr. Joachim Krapels, Dr. Joost de Laat, and Dr Wiedaad Slemming have acted as coordinator and have contributed to the preparation of the proposal for this Research Topic.
Keywords: MEL, measurement, transition to scale, early child development, LMIC
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.