IASC Common Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings: With means of verification (Version 2.0)

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This document provides guidance on the assessment, research, design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) programmes in emergency settings. Although designed specifically for emergency contexts (including protracted crises), the framework may also be applicable for the transition phases from emergency to development (including disaster risk reduction initiatives).

The common framework is important for any emergency or development personnel who are directly or indirectly engaged in programmes that aim to influence the mental health and psychosocial well-being of others. This may include (but is not limited to) mental health professionals, child protection actors or educators, health providers, nutritionists, faith communities or programme managers and practitioners engaged in initiatives such as peacebuilding, life skills, or vocational learning.

Five key pieces of guidance for field leaders

  1. The framework builds on and is aligned with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings.
  2. The wide variation of goals, outcomes, indicators and means of verification used across MHPSS programmes has made it difficult to demonstrate the impact and value of these programmes.
  3. In their Joint Interagency Call for Action on MHPSS of December 2020, the IASC Principals emphasized the importance of treating MHPSS as a crosscutting issue across sectors and the importance of reflecting MHPSS indicators in relevant planning documents. This framework includes standard data collection tools that will enable, for the first time, a common approach for the measurement of collective impact of MHPSS programmes through standardized indicators, outcomes and goals, across sectors at country-level.
  4. The common framework may also supplement approaches to achieving global goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals and/or those of the Comprehensive Mental Health Action plan 2013-2030. 
  5. The document could usefully be shared with programme teams involved in activities to strengthen the mental health and psychosocial well-being of affected populations. No background in MHPSS is required.

What does the full Framework offer?

The document outlines the processes involved in MHPSS M&E, and gives practical guidance for using the common framework, conducting ethical data collection, selecting, or adapting means of verification and on many other aspects of M&E. It also includes details about the common goal and recommended outcomes and indicators for MHPSS programmes and provides detailed guidance on using a set of quantitative and qualitative means of verification tools and approaches, with links to an online ‘toolkit’ where further information on each of these can be found.

Background to the Framework

Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) operations are increasing, with MHPSS an integral part of humanitarian programmes in several countries and across multiple sectors globally. However, there is often wide variation in approaches to monitoring MHPSS and evaluating the impact, if it is monitored or evaluated at all. The lack of a standard system for data collection and monitoring and evaluation of MHPSS in humanitarian settings leads to significant challenges in demonstrating progress and ensuring quality. To address this issue, the IASC Reference Group for MHPSS Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS RG) developed the IASC Common Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for MHPSS in Emergency Settings in 2017. It has since been  providing guidance in the assessment, design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of MHPSS programmes in humanitarian settings. It included an overall goal, associated outcomes and impact- and outcome-level indicators and was developed through academic, expert and regional- and country-level reviews and consultations.

However, despite the usefulness of the 2017 Common Framework demonstrated in-field testing, a key gap identified was the need for specific data collection tools to measure MHPSS indicators in the framework, also known as Means of Verification (MOV). The current revision, the IASC Common Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings: With means of verification (Version 2.0), was produced to address this gap. It includes updated guidance and newly identified qualitative and quantitative MoV to support measurement of the six-goal impact indicators. MoV were identified using a systematic process that assessed their relevance, likelihood of acceptability in diverse settings, statistical reliability and validity. This updated Common Framework Version 2.0 will provide, for the first time, a consensus-based system to collectively measure the impact and assess the quality of MHPSS programmes across emergency settings.


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