How We’re Planning for Success

Last week I joined my colleagues and our partners here in Tanzania for an intensive three-day workshop to learn what DMEL is and how to use it. It left me with a deeper understanding and a greater appreciation for the work of LWR.

DMEL is an acronym for a planning method that stands for “Design, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning.” In a nutshell, DMEL is how we ensure our projects around the world can have the most benefit and greatest impact. DMEL is the reason thousands of individuals and congregations trust LWR with their donations: we are able to improve the lives of people living in poverty.

Think of DMEL as a sort of roadmap to success. It identifies and articulates the core problem, or problems, we are trying to solve, helping us ensure we are starting in the right place. Sometimes the situation is very complex and requires multiple approaches toward solving the problem.

woman giving presentation, with laptop in foreground
Loretta Ishida, LWR’s Deputy Director for East Africa, leads a discussion on DMEL in Tanzania

DMEL also guides us in setting checkpoints along the way. These checkpoints help us monitor our progress and adjust our course when necessary. It also provides us with tools that can help us capture what we learn throughout the journey and share it with our other partners.

If we leave any of the four parts of DMEL out of a project, we won’t be able to fully achieve the quality programming LWR is known and appreciated for worldwide.

I am a communicator, not a practitioner of international development, but in this training I gained a new appreciation for all that my colleagues and our partners do. From the very beginning of planning to the very end of a project, a great deal of thought, care and dedication go into making sure we are achieving our mission in the world.

I’m fortunate to see DMEL in action. As a communications officer based in Tanzania, I often visit our projects to see firsthand what LWR is doing with and for communities in need.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: as a Lutheran, I am proud of the work Lutheran World Relief does on our behalf. I’m proud of the quality people and programs we have here in East Africa and around the world.