Localizing Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL): Insights from Local Actors in Burundi, Colombia, and Malawi

Localizing Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL): Insights from Local Actors in Burundi, Colombia, and Malawi


On July 17, 2024, D4I hosted the fifth and final webinar in a series on localization in monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning (MERL). The panel discussion included local research organizations and individuals from Burundi, Colombia, and Malawi. The webinar was conducted in English and French and included interpretation.  

Localizing MERL helps ensure that local actors have the resources and capacity needed for equitable, evidence-informed decision making. Applications of this in MERL activities include local capacity strengthening, using a systems lens, engaging with diverse actors, and implementing other good practices for locally led development. This webinar series shared tools and approaches for effective capacity action planning, monitoring sustainability including local actors’ roles in complex program systems, promoting local voices through social accountability methods, and more.  

The fifth webinar in this series featured panelists from Burundi, Colombia, and Malawi who have engaged with D4I on MERL work in various contexts. D4I’s objective is to strengthen capacity for rigorous evaluation with an approach to partnering with organizations guided by the seven principles of USAID’s Local Capacity Strengthening (LCS) Policy. During this webinar, panelists discussed challenges and opportunities that arise in MERL partnerships and reflected on experiences of translating LCS principles into practice. 

Watch the recording in English and French, listen to the webinar in French or English, and download the presentation slides.


Andrea Navarrete is an experienced consultant and project manager specializing in monitoring and evaluation, knowledge management, strategic planning, and public policy design. She is a System Dynamics professor at Universidad de los Andes, with a deep understanding of systemic approaches to problem-solving in complex social systems. 

Pr René Manirakiza is currently the general coordinator of CERPED. He has over 20 years of experience in research and collaborates with various partners on project monitoring and evaluation studies. 

Tawonga Mwase-Vuma was a co-investigator for the USAID-funded Malawi Secondary Education Expansion Development (SEED) program baseline and midline evaluations, which were jointly implemented by D4I and the Centre for Social Research at the University of Malawi. 


Liz Millar is a research associate with D4I and a MERL specialist with over a decade of experience working in global health. 

Tory M. Taylor is the technical director for the USAID-funded D4I and Global Health PEARL projects. She has more than 20 years of experience supporting global MERL activities, with a focus on capacity strengthening, evaluation, and survey design.