Drug-resistant infections caused by bacteria with increasing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threaten our ability to treat life-threatening conditions. Tackling AMR requires international collaboration and partnership. An early and leading priority to do this is to strengthen AMR surveillance, particularly in low-income countries where the burden of infectious diseases is highest and where data are most limited. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed the Global AMR Surveillance System (GLASS) as one of a number of measures designed to tackle the problem of AMR, and WHO member states have been encouraged to produce National Action Plans for AMR by 2017. However, low-income countries are unlikely to have the resources or capacity to implement all the components in the GLASS manual. To facilitate their efforts, we developed a guideline that is aligned to the GLASS procedures, but written specifically for implementation in low-income countries. The guideline allows for flexibility across different systems, but has sufficient standardisation of core protocols to ensure that, if followed, data will be valid and comparable. This will ensure that the surveillance programme can provide health intelligence data to inform evidence-based interventions at local, national and international levels.