About the Framework


The Design, Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (DMERL) Framework provides the principles, guidelines, tools, and resources for DMERL practices in the project management cycle. The site also links to recommended e-learning courses to build competencies in DMERL and project management. These resources were developed and curated primarily for American Red Cross staff and partners, but they are also relevant to staff and volunteers working throughout the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and the humanitarian sector.


The Design, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework was developed by the American Red Cross in 2020. After a year of piloting, the Framework was revised to be streamlined and linked to the program management cycle, so that users can quickly access the most relevant guidance or tool for the program management task at hand.

Key Principles Guiding the DMERL Framework

February 20, 2020. Metepec, Morelos, Mexico. Two years after a powerful earthquake struck Mexico, the American Red Cross, in partnership with the Mexican Red Cross and the Canadian Red Cross, continues to support communities affected by the disaster. Through a series of resiliency activities made possible through financial support from the American Red Cross, people living in disaster-prone communities in Mexico are empowered to learn skills that prepare them for future disasters. From providing hygiene and sanitation education to offering trainings on how to administer first aid, the Red Cross is actively involved in helping to build stronger, more resilient communities across the country.
Mexican Red Cross and American Red Cross workers conduct a walkthrough for the first disaster simulation set to take place on February 20, 2020 in Metepec, a city in Morelos, Mexico. 

Metepec residents are at risk of several potential disasters like volcano eruptions, earthquakes and forest fires. Through support from the Red Cross, disaster response volunteers are equipped with training and skills that allow them to conduct disaster simulations to help prepare their communities for potential disasters. On February 20, 2020, disaster response volunteers hosted their first simulation, which entailed alerting the community about a disaster and the need to evacuate. Disaster response volunteers practiced guiding community members to an evacuation meeting zone, administering first aid, and locating and evacuating the most vulnerable. Photo by Brad Zerivitz/American Red Cross

Framework Principles

How to Use the Framework

Navigate through each phase of the Project Management Cycle

The Framework supports the entire project management cycle, from concept to close-out. DMERL is essential to good project management, because it gives you the knowledge you need to build, implement, and improve your project. We have identified a role for DMERL in four project management phases - or as we are calling them: Design, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. We also emphasize that Knowledge Management and Learning are at the center of the project management cycle and should be integrated throughout.

Take advantage of its curated inventory of resources

The Framework provides practical guidelines, tools, and templates to help with your DMERL activities throughout the project management cycle. It is a knowledge management repository for the proven approaches and strongest tools already available in the industry, including from the International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent (IFRC), USAID and other leading sources.

Follow its step by step guides

The framework provides best practice standards for how to do DMERL in the project management cycle. The standards are part of a step-by-step guide to practical approaches you can take to improving your project through DMERL.

Use its shared language, practices, and goals

The purpose of the Framework is to create a common vision and shared language for DMERL practice in humanitarian work, clearly articulating why we engage in specific areas of work and what we hope to achieve.

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