Evaluation Learning Advisory Group

Background

The Evaluation Learning Advisory Group (ELAG) is a committee struck by MEDA’s INFRONT program to contribute to the knowledge and practice of impact assessment – especially environmental, social and governance returns - of impact investments – particularly those that also offer commercial returns on investments. ELAG is comprised of industry leaders with representatives from UNPRI, the GIIN, ANDE, B-Labs Sarona and others along with GAC and MEDA. The committee has two principal roles: contribute to the development of an Enhanced M&E System (EMES) and provide input to the project’s research agenda. ELAG is led by Dr. Linda Jones, MEDA’s Senior Director, Global Programs.

Specific Objectives

GAC and MEDA intend to not only contribute to the ESG capacities (including monitoring and evaluation) of INFRONT beneficiaries, but also to the impact investing industry more broadly. This will include presentations, meetings, seminars, paper presentations and publications. For example, mid to long term research questions to be tackled are:

  • To what extent does an investment focused, private sector approach really impact poverty and create additional jobs (as opposed to crowd out others)?
  • Which metrics are useful for assessing impact, and under what conditions and by whom can they be tracked?
  • Do these metrics match with existing standards or are they additive?
  • When development activities such as mentoring and social innovation grants are implemented alongside impact investments, are there greater improvements in social and environmental areas?

Process

While MEDA continues to work on various aspects of the monitoring and learning agenda throughout the year, ELAG meetings take place on a quarterly basis (at most) and last one to two hours per meeting. At these meetings, MEDA seeks guidance and input from its members on issues of concern. ELAG members sometimes make contributions above and beyond the quarterly meetings but this is not a requirement of participating on the committee. At our most recent meeting, ELAG members reviewed the Sarona Values Report and how it contributes to our understanding of impact measurement in investing, and what else might be done to strengthen and streamline reporting on impact.

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