MLI’s commitment to ongoing learning and adaptation, both in countries and within the MLI/Washington team, was central to the development and implementation of the MLI program.
To this end, MLI contracted with EnCompass LLC as the external evaluation partner to serve in the dual role of evaluator and advisor to share findings and lessons learned with the MLI team.
In February 2012, EnCompass released its final evaluation of the MLI program. This evaluation aimed to document and inform the development of the MLI approach and to assess the outcomes of that approach. The final report summarizes the evolution of MLI; explores the roles and efficacy of each enabling strategy; and summarizes the extensive findings of the project in each country and globally, as well as lessons and feedback from MLI participants.
The evaluation found that as an international development assistance program, what made MLI unique was the way it acknowledged the value and experience of local leadership, placed ministry identified priorities first, and recognized and supported ministry leaders as the primary actors in development. Because MLI was a relatively small program not tied to bilateral funding, the program was able to be nimble and flexible in adapting to ongoing changes in context and needs. This focus on country priorities, support for ministry leadership, and flexibility to adapt all contributed over time to developing a solid foundation of trust in relationships in a context where trust is a luxury.