In 2018, FRIDA embarked upon a collaborative planning voyage, led by its Change Team, resulting in FRIDA’s 2020 – 2025 Strategic Plan. This Strategic Plan is a labor of our young feminist community’s love, outlining our commitment to transformation and growth, guided by five strategic principles to deepen our work with young feminist communities. As a fund entirely dedicated to catalyzing young feminist movements for social change, it is imperative to FRIDA that we develop and adhere to tools for measuring collective impact in a way that is feminist, community-centered, participatory, and accessible. As such, we invite you to delve into FRIDA’s new Strategic Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Framework; a learning-centered approach to unpacking how we are adhering to the commitments outlined in the constellations of our 2020 – 2025 Strategic Plan.
FRIDA operates within the philanthropic industrial complex, where NGOs have historically dictated and set the measures of success that activist communities need to meet. This colonial and linear vision of change strips activists of their autonomy and fails to account for other ways of conceptualizing and navigating the complexity of change. As a fund entirely led by young feminists who come from majority country movements, our decision to ‘queer’ (challenge & change) traditional approaches to MEL is a political stance. We believe that radically transforming and reclaiming the practice of MEL upholds our trust in young feminists as the experts of their own realities.
KEY PILLARS OF DEVELOPING FRIDA’s MEL FRAMEWORK
Reframing the language of MEL:
To transform the practice of MEL and make it more in line with FRIDA’s values, we needed to challenge and deconstruct the traditional language of MEL, as its language is political too. FRIDA believes this bold renaming will result in a much-needed reframing of the ways that we usually think about monitoring, evaluation, and learning.
FRIDA’s MEL framework is anchored by five commitments, which we call our rising constellations:
- Bridging: Connections, co-accountability, and accessibility
- Flourishing: Radical care and planetary wellbeing
- Queering: Creative disruption & strengthening diverse feminist movements
- Co-Creating: Culture of collaboration
- Moving: Agility, flexibility, and adaptability
In creating our framework and designing our methodology, FRIDA was guided by three core organizational values:
- Participatory collaboration
- Accessible language and understanding
- Collective feedback
With all of this growth, there is learning and so, our next steps in this Strategic MEL Framework involve evolving, learning, operationalizing as FRIDA’s internal operations adjust to adhere to adapt to these changes.
As you dive into this framework, we hope you consider joining our feminist resource ally community. Investing in a feminist future, whether the contribution is big or small, represents a powerful political act.
FRIDA holds deep love, gratitude, and solidarity for everyone that contributed to the creation of FRIDA’s Strategic MEL Framework. We appreciate the entire FRIDA community tremendously – including Grantee Partners, Staff, Consultants, Advisors, and Board Members. We are also incredibly grateful to our donors and allies, who always support our vision of change. Thank you for walking towards these constellations, together.
Special Thanks to:
The FRIDA Change Team that embarked on a multi-year journey to identify a strategy that could meet FRIDA’s most pressing needs in the near future.
Boikanyo Modungwa, FRIDA’s first MEL officer and close adviser through all the years of both FRIDA’s and the MEL team’s growth.
Clara Desalvo and Zazi Dlamini, current MEL magic-makers at FRIDA, for their vision and work to rethink traditional MEL approaches and their key role in developing this MEL framework.
Eva Didier, FRIDA’s external consultant who co-led the MEL framework development alongside the MEL team. Eva’s commitment and openness to an honest, collective process made this possible.
Ré Phillips, FRIDA’s external consultant that supported the MEL team to give birth to this document.
All of the grantee partners, advisors & allies who participated in the workshops to co-create FRIDA’s Strategic MEL framework.