Evidence & Impact


Having a lasting impact

Children washing their hands at the Messef Orphanage in Haiti following the installation of new sanitation facilities by Merlin. Photo by Miguel Samper.

Building our evidence base

We are building a solid body of evidence to demonstrate and measure the difference we make to the people we work with. We also measure the strength of the health systems they rely on. Our evidence is gathered through monitoring, reviews, evaluations and learning from everything we do. This helps us design quality programmes that really deliver results. We also use this data to influence changes to health policy and practice.

Demonstrating our impact

Our country programmes monitor the results of their work and produce case-studies as evidence of the real sustainable change Merlin is making. We demonstrate results that contribute to a lasting change in health status. Our results framework, which uses core health, management and effectiveness indicators, helps us to measure both complex and unintended change.

Ensuring accountability

Our accountability framework  details the commitments we make to the communities and patients we work with, to those that fund our activities and to the staff and volunteers that make it all happen.  It also outlines how these commitments will be measured.

Underlying these commitments is our recognition that all those we work with have a right to full information about what we are doing, to be included in the decisions we make, to give us feedback and to make complaints.

Sector standards

We follow recognised international standards of practice for health and for the humanitarian sector. These include World Health Organisation (WHO) and country health policies, the Red Cross Code of Conduct and SPHERE. Other notable sector standards that Merlin adheres to include:

Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP)

HAP has developed internationally agreed principles for accountability to the communities NGOs serve and has created a systematic approach for accrediting organisations against its sector recognised standards. Merlin has been a full member of the HAP since 2008 and is in the process of working towards accreditation.

People in Aid

People in Aid  is a membership organisation made up of an international network of aid agencies committed to furthering the impact they make through better people management. The People in Aid Code of Good Practice is an internationally recognised management tool that helps agencies enhance the quality of their human resources management. Merlin is a member of People in Aid; in 2009 we were awarded the first People in Aid quality mark “Committed to People in Aid Code”. 

Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)

The DEC brings together the leading UK aid agencies to finance relief for people affected by major disasters in poorer countries. Merlin is a member and is committed to fulfilling the DEC accountability framework in addition to our own commitments.

Read the summary of Merlin’s response to the recent earthquake and cholera outbreak in Haiti.

Working in partnerships

Merlin believes that working together improves effectiveness, efficiency and maximises impact. Merlin works in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders including:

  • Ministries of Health in all our country programmes at district, provincial and national levels
  • National and international NGOs
  • International organisations such as the WHO and UNICEF
  • Academic institutions

Effective partnerships like these means we can broaden the coverage and scope of our programming to ensure as many people as possible benefit, as well as identify good practice and learning.

Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS)

ACAPS is a project dedicated to improving the assessment of needs in complex emergencies and crises. They provide tools, know-how and training to a wide range of humanitarian actors. It is a joint initiative of a consortium of three NGOs: HelpAge International, Merlin and the Norwegian Refugee Council.