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In 2021 UNICEF Aotearoa NZ undertook a capability mapping exercise with New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) for its Negotiated Partnerships Fund. Subsequent to an assessment of this exercise, UNICEF Aotearoa NZ commissioned Elisabeth Poppelwell and Kirsty Burnett to review its monitoring, evaluation, reporting and learning (MERL) framework for the Negotiated Partnerships Fund. The aim was to ensure the framework is aligned with the UNICEF Global Programme Management approach and met MFAT’s needs.

Malo - band washing

What was done

Following a review of UNICEF Aotearoa NZ Negotiated Partnerships Fund MERL framework, Elisabeth and Kirsty worked with the UNICEF Aotearoa NZ team, and liaised with its Country Office partners from Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Kiribati, and UNICEF Pacific Regional Office to identify why and how improvements can be made.

How it was done

Elisabeth and Kirsty facilitated a series of workshops and worked with the UNICEF Aotearoa NZ team on its current approach to MERL and how it could be improved to help with accountability, transparency, and performance. This included clarifying the Theory of Change, identifying actionable results measurement indicators, improving the MERL workplan, and outlining an adaptive management approach that would meet MFAT’s needs.

The benefits for the client

Through the facilitation process, UNICEF Aotearoa NZ could see the value in an improved, fit-for-purpose, and robust MERL framework. It would be able to better understand what parts of the MFAT-commissioned project activities are working, and where some adjustments may be needed to keep the activities on track.

The exercise provided guidance that led to strengthening the capacity of the UNICEF Aotearoa NZ team and its Country Office partners. MFAT also approved UNICEF Aotearoa NZ’s revised Negotiated Partnerships Fund MERL framework, instilling confidence in the ongoing partnership relationship.

UNICEF Aotearoa NZ: MERL refresh, 2021


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