This document offers guidance on determining whether to carry out monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning activities in the context of COVID‑19 and, if so, how to safely conduct them. It provides additional recommendations based on CRS’ experience, to be used in conjunction with and to supplement guidance provided by the IASC, WHO and the local health ministry as relevant. With the spread of COVID‑19, a contagious respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus, the World Health Organization and many national health authorities have advised significant restrictions on travel, meeting in groups, and other interactions. To prevent transmission of the virus, many countries where CRS and its partners operate have issued restrictions on mobility and gatherings. Monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) activities generally entail interactions among NGO staff, project participants, community members and service providers. Such interactions risk increasing COVID‑19 transmission. For example, project staff who unknowingly have COVID‑19 and carry out data collection or other MEAL activities can transmit the virus to community members. Conversely, project participants or other community members may transmit COVID‑19 to project staff through MEAL‑related interactions. Some MEAL activities involve community members interacting with each other, such as in focus group discussions. Other activities involve staff and partners interacting, such as during quarterly data reflection meetings, which also increases the risk of transmission. The pandemic is affecting program implementation in significant ways, and adjustments in MEAL are needed to capture and learn from these effects. The COVID‑19 situation is rapidly evolving, with medical knowledge about the virus continuing to emerge and with situations and risks changing in many countries. Therefore, this guidance will continue to be updated and refined as new information becomes available and as new field approaches and practices emerge.

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