Evaluation of development programmes

Developing evaluation capacities

 

Producing and using evaluations requires certain capacities, including individual skills and knowledge, organisational systems and policies, and an enabling environment. Evaluation capacity development (ECD) is the process whereby people, organisations and society as a whole unleash, strengthen, create, adapt and maintain capacity to produce and use evaluation to effectively support accountability and learning (Read more on capacity development). Strengthening evaluation capacities is part of creating effective institutions for development and lays the groundwork for mutual accountability and collaboration. The capacities of both donor agencies and partner countries to undertake effective development planning, monitoring and evaluation are key components of aid effectiveness.

The mandate of the DAC Network on Development Evaluation includes the commitment to “support partner country evaluation capacities.” To achieve this, the OECD DAC EvalNet Task Team for evaluation capacity development (ECD) is focused on developing and improving partnerships to strengthen the relevance, coherence and impact of our investments in capacity development. The focus of the Task Team for 2014-2015 is on establishing a stronger evidence base of ‘what works’ in ECD, sharing and identifying opportunities for collaboration, and developing joint initiatives. The Task Team is currently chaired by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. During 2012 the Task Team developed a basic concept note on Working Consensus on Evaluation Capacity Development to guide the work.

ECD Newsletter no. 1 – July 2014

This biannual ECD Newsletterr is produced by the task team and prepresents an ongoing opportunity to inform others of ECD initiatives and opportunities for collaboration. It provides information on country, regional and global ECD initiatives, as well as new resources. To sign up or submit content, please email: dacevaluation.contact@oecd.org

Country ECD initiatives

South Africa’s Evaluation & Research Unit

By: DPME, the Presidency, Christel Jacob

The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) within the Presidency, is the custodian of the national M&E system in South Africa. The initial focus on evaluation has been on a set of 10-15 priority national programmes and policies to evaluate each year. The ECD process has established the basis for a national system (competencies, set of courses, learning-by-doing support, etc.), but in practice has focused on the capacity of the programme/M&E teams from the departments whose programmes are being evaluated. This includes an emerging focus on support provinces to implement provincial evaluation plans.

Our capacity development strategy is focused on building the evaluation competencies of evaluators; government evaluation and programme managers; and is driven by implementing the NES. 367 government staff were trained in 2013-2014. A significant part of our work on short course development and rollout is funded by DFID.

We use a ‘learning by doing’ approach with support by DPME evaluation specialists that involves government officials in developing evaluation concept notes, terms of reference, evaluation designs, commissioning and managing evaluations in accordance with NES guidelines developed by the evaluation and research unit. Different elements of our capacity development plan include participating in workshops, design clinics, technical working groups, and steering committee meetings. The focus will gradually move towards rolling the system out across national and provincial departments and increasing labels of technical assistance will be provided to national departments and provincial offices of the Premier to establish their own evaluation systems and plans.

As a result of establishing the NES we have identified a need for improving programme planning capacities, and will be working on an extensive capacity development programme to improve this area and ensure programmes are better positioned to undergo evaluations.

 

The Second Uganda Evaluation Week Took 21 – 23 May 2014

By: GIZ, Evaluation Capacity Development Project Uganda, Johanna Pennarz

The second Uganda Evaluation Week was organised by the Office of the Prime Minster (OPM) in partnership with the Uganda Evaluation Association (UEA) and with support from the German Government through GIZ and from the 3IE. The overall theme of the 2014 Evaluation Week was “Building Evaluation Capacity, Culture and Practices in Uganda”.

The Evaluation Week was officially opened by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi. It was attended by 168 participants who came from a wide range of organisations: Government contributed the largest share (35%), followed by NGOs (26%), academia (11%) and development partners (10%). In addition, parliament was well represented with 11 participants who included three MPs from Uganda, Kenya and Cameroon. The wide turnout from different parts of society illustrates the substantial growth of the professional community since the first Evaluation Week in 2013 and the sustained commitment to developing evaluation capacity.

Issues of capacity development were discussed extensively and the need for more capacity development was articulated repeatedly. A lot of training has been conducted in Uganda, but most evaluators lack practical evaluation experience. A number of speakers and participants looked at the Uganda Evaluation Association (UEA) as the central platform for evaluation capacity building. Many ideas were brought up on how the UEA could take a stronger role in building professional capacities, for example through providing a pool of peer reviewers, brokering internships and organising an annual conference. There was general agreement that 2015, the International Year of Evaluation, will be an opportunity for the UEA to galvanise interest in evaluation and consolidate the emerging community of practice in Uganda.

The Evaluation Week also explored issues of evaluation culture, use and independence through discussion and reflection. The findings and lessons from more than a dozen evaluation studies conducted in Uganda were presented. A number of practical ideas were shared on how promoting utility and influence of evaluative evidence could be better recognised in evaluation processes.

 

Regional and cross-country ECD initiatives

Demand for and Supply of Evaluations in sub-Saharan African Countries – Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results for Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA) publishes new study

By: CLEAR-AA, Timothy Clynick

Most ECD work focuses exclusively on technical strengthening of evaluative functions or monitoring systems within government. A set of studies undertaken by the Regional Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results for Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA) argues that ECD priorities should be shaped in relation to the political economy. CLEAR-AA reached this overarching conclusion through synthesising findings from case studies in five African countries (Ghana, Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia) undertaken with the support of the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

The five case studies mapped the opportunities and challenges for conducting evaluation. This mapping disclosed that technical capacity to manage and undertake evaluations within the public sector is often below par. This is a major constraint on the quality and use of evaluation. It also helps explain why evaluations are often commissioned and managed by development partners rather than governments. However, universities, think tanks and civil society actors are potential suppliers of evaluation services. They are well informed about the local situation and better equipped to navigate the political context than foreign experts. Such technically competent and politically savvy evaluation actors offer convenient entry points for ECD.

The key finding of this research is that the country-specific political economy and policy processes effect how evaluation supply and demand interact. Many demand and supply-side constraints or barriers are technical, but because evaluation is politicised it is essential to understand the political economy in order to identify entry points for ECD.

 

Aiming for Excellence: Evaluation Capacity Development at the African Development Bank

By: AfDB, Rakesh Nangia

“Excellent development evaluations have been designed and conducted on the African continent. The problem lies with stakeholder commitment towards implementation of recommendations and utilization of evaluation findings.” – Sylvia Apreku, Sierra Leone, Evaluation Essay Contest Winner, 2013.

The Independent Development Evaluation (IDEV) of AfDB has increasingly engaged in developing evaluation capacity. This evaluation capacity development support includes strengthening national evaluation systems, establishing regional networks and communities of practice, establishing evaluation platforms, and much more.

Strengthening National Evaluation Systems

In 2013, IDEV received funding from a Finnish Trust Fund to support two countries, namely, Tanzania and Ethiopia, to improve their national evaluation systems. The support focuses on four key areas: the formulation of country owned strategies to develop national M&E systems; the development of a policy and institutional framework for the demand for and use of impact evaluation and M&E by governing bodies of the government; the strengthening of skills for planning, managing and implementing complex evaluation projects; and advocacy to stimulate broad high quality evaluations.

African Parliamentarians’ Network on Development Evaluation

The African Parliamentarians’ Network on Development Evaluation (APNODE) supports parliamentarians in Africa to make use of and advocate for development evaluation. The founding members include parliamentarians from seven African countries, and the goal is to broaden the membership to more countries in the region. IDEV is playing a secretariat role and the initiative is a joint effort with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Finland, UNICEF, UNDP, and UN Women.

Evaluation Platform for Regional African Development Institutions (EPRADI)

The EPRADI was created to harmonise evaluation methods and practices among Sub-regional Development Institutions (SRDIs). IDEV, in its current role as chair of the Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG), convened SRDIs in Africa, where the declaration for EPRADI was adopted. The purpose of this African evaluation platform is to promote an evaluation culture and increase the contribution of evaluation to organisational results. The creation of this platform is one channel of institutionalisation of results-based evaluation among SRDIs in Africa.

In conclusion, IDEV recognises that capacity development is a long-term process and national governments or regional institutional have to own and lead the process. The support also needs to be more innovative and holistic focusing on institutional development, individual training, and creating an enabling environment for an evaluation culture to thrive.

 

AfrEA Contributions to ECD in Africa

By: AfrEA, Serge Eric Yakeu Djiam

The African Evaluation Association (AfrEA) serves as an umbrella body for more than 30 national M&E associations and networks in Africa. It is also a resource for individuals in countries where national bodies or Voluntary Organisations for Professional Evaluation (VOPEs) are absent. One of the key mandates of AfrEA is its contribution to Evaluation Capacity Development (ECD) of members. AfrEA supports peer-to-peer learning and development evaluation activities as well as assuring relationships/linkages between the regional and national evaluation communities, such as the Latin American Evaluation Association (ReLAC) under EvalPartners initiative.

The promotion of Africa rooted and Africa led evaluation is essential. AfrEA facilitates a joint action/collaboration with development partners and in-country institutions in Africa to strengthen the effectiveness and impact of ECD in the region on a long-term basis. The documentation of high quality evaluation practice and theory is important for ECD. AfrEA believes that the capacity building of evaluation associations will assure future ECD programming for development in Africa.

One of the pivotal roles AfrEA plays in international ECD is hosting the AfrEA Biennial International Conference. The conference forms the foundation of ECD through networking and knowledge sharing amongst evaluators, policy makers, researchers and development specialists globally, but particularly in Africa.

 

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) Africa Capacity Development 2014

By: J-PAL, Laura Poswell

Executive Education – NPOs, government officials, development partners

J-PAL Africa ran its annual Executive Education Course from 20 – 24 January 2014, at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The purpose of the course is to provide participants with a thorough understanding of why and how to use randomised impact evaluations, and to provide pragmatic step-by-step training for conducting one’s own randomised evaluation. J-PAL affiliated researchers delivered the course lectures. J-PAL’s team of teaching assistants worked with small groups of participants on practical exercises and project ideas. The course drew participants from government departments, development partners and not-for-profit organisations across nine African countries.

J-PAL Africa Incubation fund for South Africa: South African academics

In 2014, J-PAL Africa launched a randomised evaluation incubation fund to support local researchers to carry out exploratory research work on policy relevant questions related to South Africa. The purpose of the fund is to seed new randomised evaluations and build capacity to implement these in South Africa. Each proposal is required to have at least one principal investigator working at a South African university. J-PAL Africa is further supporting the studies through offering technical expertise to researchers in terms of their design and proposed implementation plans. Four micro-grants were awarded after the first request for proposals.

Using Evidence for Policy Making - Impact Evaluation Workshop – Rwanda policy makers, researchers, development partners

In March 2014, the government of Rwanda and J-PAL partnered to hold a custom training course intended to build capacity in understanding methods of impact evaluation and in critically using evidence in the policy decision-making process. The course included two tracks: incorporating both individuals from the government of Rwanda engaged in policy formation and researchers from Rwandan institutions.

 

Global initiatives and ECD networks

Collaborative Partner-Donor Evaluation Initiative

By: French Ministry of Economy and Finance, Claude Leroy-Themeze

At the November 2012 meeting of EvalNet, France agreed to prepare a survey of partner countries involved in the Paris Declaration Evaluation (PDE) in order to identify opportunities to support joint partner-donor evaluations. Collaborative partner-donor evaluation is a tool for mutual accountability and learning. It is part of a strand of converging donor efforts aimed at strengthening partner country evaluation systems. As a learning-by-doing instrument, it is complementary to training programmes, technical support and advocacy.

One of the first activities of this initiative is to undertake a series of partner country studies, each one including: a review of the PDE process in terms of its contribution to building evaluation capacity; the collection of positive stories of partner-donor evaluation work (in addition to PDE); and an exploration of future opportunities for undertaking such work at partner country level. The study will end in an international workshop aimed at synthesising the country studies and proposing steps forward.

The studies were launched at a workshop held in Kampala (Uganda) on 24-25 March 2014. It was hosted by the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda. The workshop resulted in a consensus on objectives and working modalities and adoption of terms of reference, including templates and tools, for country coordinators. The objectives of the studies are: to understand the capacity building potential of collaborative evaluation work, to draw new lessons about capacity building strategies, and to pave the way to a multi-annual partner-donor collaboration on evaluation work.

Public organisations from 18 partner countries have volunteered for studies and a provisional number of 15 donor institutions committed to providing financial and/or technical support. Country studies are now underway or being launched. The Collaborative Partner-Donor Evaluation Initiative appears on the EvalNet webpage.

 

Centres for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR)

By: CLEAR, Nidhi Khattri

Effective development is guided by evidence. Yet generating and using relevant and timely evidence has been a challenge, with generally weak country capacity for (M&E). The Centres for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) programme was established in 2010 to contribute to strengthening partner countries’ capacities and systems for M&E. CLEAR is a collaborative global partnership housed at the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank, and implemented in partnership with five academic institutions that host the CLEAR centres: Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Centre in Shanghai, China; Centre Africain d’Études Supérieures en Administration et Gestion (CESAG) in Senegal; Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico; Jameel Poverty Action Lab South Asia at the Institute for Financial Management and Research in Chennai, India, with partner Center for Economic Research in Pakistan; The University of Witwatersrand (Wits) in South Africa, with partners Ghana Institute of Public Management and Administration and the Kenya School of Government.

Based on regionally appropriate strategies, these centres collaborate with regional constituents and partners to support relevant, cost-effective and practical capacity development ranging from short-term workshops to ongoing mentoring and peer-to-peer learning. By empowering and capacitating regionally based institutions, CLEAR is building institutional capacity to build capacity for sustainable results.

An example of CLEAR’s work includes strengthening communities of practice in South Asia. CLEAR South Asia has catalysed a platform of knowledge exchange for the South Asian professional community of practice in evaluation. It has initiated a series of roundtable discussions on M&E topics in New Delhi, live internet broadcasts of which have attracted an audience of more than 900 viewers. Sector specialists and centre experts presented on M&E topics like instrument design, experimental and quasi-experimental evaluation methods, equity-focused evaluation methods, systematic reviews, and scaling up proven interventions. These roundtables are providing a unique opportunity for knowledge sharing, awareness building and networking among South Asian practitioners. The centre is also collaborating with the recently established Independent Evaluation Organization in thinking through its approaches and learning from evaluation organisations in other countries such as Mexico.

 

The Agricultural Learning and Impacts Network (ALINe)

By: Firetail Limited, Yvonne Pinto

ALINe is an international initiative that contributes to the development and strengthening of systems and capacities for Monitoring Evaluation and Learning in the agricultural sector, with a particular focus on achieving positive impacts for smallholder farmers in the South.

ALINe's work includes the provision of comprehensive, user-oriented MEL support services to donors and intermediary organisations, governments, NGOs, research centres and businesses. This often takes the form of multi-stakeholder partnerships operating at a regional level or supporting the development of national‐level sectoral MEL systems. ALINe achieves this by working closely with its wider network of individual M&E professionals and agencies in both the North and South, and by adopting an approach that explicitly aims at developing MEL capabilities and capacities.

To this end, ALINe is currently fostering two Communities of Practice (COPs) for MEL professionals, in East and West Africa. Through these COPs, MEL officers from implementing organisations share and reflect on their experiences, learn from each other, hold clinics with seasoned M&E professionals and reflect on wider organisational issues related to designing and making MEL systems operational. The participation of senior M&E officers from funding agencies helps to nurture mutual understanding, creating more realistic expectations and constructive relationships.

At the level of national and regional MEL systems, ALINe's works with and provides institutional development support to M&E service providers. A key example of this is the provision of strategy support to institutions such as ISSER and TEGEMEO so that they can position themselves as internationally competitive agencies capable of responding to the mushrooming demand for large scale, high quality data collection. Finally, ALINe works closely with its rapidly growing network of experienced M&E professionals based in the South, leveraging their knowledge, skills and expertise to create valuable two-way learning processes with M&E practitioners based in the North.

ALINe recently commissioned a paper on ECD in Africa to coincide with the 6th AfrEA conference held this year in Cameroon. The paper describes the ECD landscape in Africa, reviews donor commitments and actions on ECD and highlights key gaps that need to be addressed.

 

ECG is Serious about Evaluation Capacity Development

By: ECG, Rakesh Nangia

The Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG) — established in 1995 by the heads of evaluation of multilateral development banks — puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to evaluation capacity development. Members travelled to South Africa, ahead of the group’s Spring 2014 Meeting, to participate in an evaluation capacity building event for Sub-regional African Development Institutions (SRDI). The event, organised by the African Development Bank‘s Independent Development Evaluation Department (IDEV), provided an opportunity for the SRDIs to learn from ECG members and find ways to address the challenges facing their evaluation functions. It culminated in the launching of an Evaluation Platform for Regional African Development Institutions, which the AfDB is supporting. Speaking about the meeting, Rakesh Nangia, Evaluator General at the AfDB and current chair of the ECG noted that the ECG Spring 2014 Meeting will be remembered as a meeting of ‘firsts’. One of these ‘firsts’ occurred when four ECG members discussed the role of evaluation in development work on Beyond Markets, a half-hour CNBC Africa show.

ECG activity in capacity development goes as far back as 2002, with the organisation of a 3-day evaluation capacity workshop (IDB Evaluation Symposium) for ECG members. Through the collective and individual actions of its members, the ECG has consistently supported evaluation capacity development in borrowing countries and among its members, in line with its key objectives. In coming years, ECG members will continue to provide leadership and support evaluation capacity development, both collectively and individually.

 

European Evaluation Society and Evaluation Capacity Development

By: EES, Claudine Voyadzis

Evaluation capacity development is at the core of EES activities. Our goal is to stimulate and promote evaluation theory and practice in Europe and beyond in order to enhance evaluation quality and develop evaluation demand and utilisation. To reach this goal, EES organises biennial conferences that bring together practitioners and researchers creating a forum for knowledge exchange and co-operation.

This year the 11th EES Biennial Conference will be held in Dublin on 1-3 October 2014. The main theme of the Conference is Evaluation for an Equitable Society. Because of the high relevance of the theme for development evaluation we look forward to active participation of development evaluation offices this time. We expect to include over twenty contributions that are directly relevant to ECD.

Moreover, to foster evaluation capacity development, EES holds biennial pre-conference workshops led by trainers with expertise in theory, methods, methodology and new trends in the field. This year the pre-conference in Dublin will take place on 29-30 September, and we are proud to include among the trainers eminent evaluators such as Jennifer Greene, Michael Scriven, Michael Quinn Patton and Patricia Rogers.

Finally at EES we are in the process of exploring the issue of professionalisation of the evaluation discipline. In this regard, EES in co-operation with the UK Evaluation Society, aims at launching a pilot initiative on voluntary evaluator peer reviews with the purpose of enhancing the quality of evaluations and of providing evaluators with continuous learning and increase their credibility.

 

From “RBM-ization” to Normalisation: A Field Practitioner’s Reflection on ECD current trendsBy: ECDG, Michelle Tarsilla

Introduction

An increasingly large number of ECD initiatives aimed at creating an enabling environment for evaluation both within systems and organisation are calling upon decision- and policy-makers to adopt Results-Based Management (RBM) principles in their day-to-day work. However, the differences between RBM and evaluation are not always well understood and the potential of cross-pollination between both fields has not been fully capitalised yet.

Defining RBM and Evaluation: are they really so different?

A number of evaluation colleagues, planners and policy-makers in Africa and Asia use the word RBM and evaluation interchangeably. In particular, when discussing about evaluation, a large number of professionals tend to associate the so-called evaluation logic (Scriven, 1994) with the practice of developing logical frameworks and do not appear to see any substantial difference between evaluation and RBM.

From Definitions to Practice: the “RBM-ization” of the Evaluation Function

The current lack of an understanding of the commonalities and differences between RBM and evaluation does not come as a surprise given that many of the managers have been taught RBM. This phenomenon, which I refer to as “RBM-ization of the evaluation function” has profoundly undermined the potential of ECD in many countries and has remained overlooked over the years. Only recently, my position on the relationship between ECD and RBM has changed. I have come to terms with the fact that, for an ECD programme to be designed and implemented successfully, the language used in evaluation workshops, mentoring programmes and technical assistance sessions needs to build upon RBM terminology, processes and tools. This phenomenon, which I refer to as “ECD opportunism”, has proved to be quite effective in my professional practice. Trainees and clients exposed to the use of this more recent “gradual sensitization approach” appear to have assimilated, retained and used evaluation concepts and tools more effectively.

From RBM-ization to Normalisation of the Evaluation Function

I strongly suggest the recognition of the RBM function during the development of evaluation workshop curricula and the design of evaluation technical assistance programmes, especially those aimed at planning and management specialists. It is critical to ensure that evaluation methodologies and concepts disseminated as part of an ECD programme fit within the realm of leaders’ existing results-driven management practices. This new strategy, which I call the “normalization of the evaluation function”, appears to help avoid the risk of rejection and apathy.

Conclusion

Future ECD initiatives should build upon the existing link between RBM and evaluation. However, it will be important to embed a blended or “normalised” approach within the specific organisational settings where the audience targeted by such ECD initiatives operate in.

REFERENCE

Scriven, M. (1994). The final synthesis. Evaluation Practice, 15 (3) 367-382.

 

International Year of Evaluation 2015

By: EvalPartners, Marco Segone

2015 was declared as the International Year of Evaluation (EvalYear) at the Third International Conference on National Evaluation Capacities organised in São Paulo, Brazil, 29 September-2 October 2013. EvalYear is a global movement to strengthen an enabling environment for evaluation. 2015 is the year when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will be replaced by a new set of internationally agreed goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). It is now widely acknowledged that national development policies and programmes should be informed by evidence generated by credible national monitoring and evaluation systems, while ensuring policy coherence at regional and global level. This will ensure evaluation is mainstreamed in SDG as well as national development goals.

After declaring EvalYear in São Paolo, many regional and national Voluntary Organizations for Professional Evaluation (VOPE) joined the initiative. Many VOPE included EvalYear logo in their websites promoting EvalYear and to date the logo is available in 18 different languages.. EvalYear was also highlighted at many conferences (see the EvalYear website rotating news section for more information). EvalYear brochure is now available in English, French and Spanish for more information on the website.

Most importantly, UNEG is coordinating efforts for the UN General Assembly to adopt a UN resolution on evaluation. This is expected to be tabled in October 2014. In July 2014 UNEG will organise another high level event at the UN in New York with, hopefully, the UN Secretary General. EvalPartners is working with VOPE to work with respective governments to take this as an opportunity to establish evaluation culture in the country.

EvalPartners is planning the II Global Evaluation Forum and celebration of International Year of Evaluation to be held in a national parliament in mid-2015 with participation of VOPE leaders, parliamentarians, evaluation community, government and donor representatives. EvalPartners is also planning a global consultative process to draft the Global Evaluation agenda for 2016-2020 that will also be launched at the same event.

 

Japan Supports Evaluation Capacity Development

By: the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sachiyo Yasunaga

Japan supports evaluation capacity development in partner countries by carrying out partner country-led evaluation and ODA Evaluation Workshops. Every year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) requests a partner country to conduct evaluation on Japan’s ODA mainly at programme level. The objectives of this partner country-led evaluation are to secure the fairness and transparency of Japan’s ODA evaluation, promote understanding of Japan’s ODA by partner countries and enhance evaluation capacities and ownership of partner countries. In 2013, Japan commissioned Vietnamese consultants to evaluate its ODA to the health sector in Vietnam.

In addition, the MOFA has been holding the ODA Evaluation Workshop almost every year since 2001, inviting government officials and experts from Asian and Pacific countries who engage in ODA evaluation. This workshop provides an occasion for donors and partner countries in the Asia Pacific region to exchange knowledge and experiences in ODA evaluation primarily aiming at evaluation capacity development in partner countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

In the previous 11 workshops, participants shared their experiences and information on ODA evaluation and discussed various issues including efforts to improve evaluation capacities and joint evaluations by partner and donor countries. Furthermore, as a result of accumulated discussion on the development of an ODA evaluation community in the Asian-Pacific region and building networks, the Workshop contributed to the establishment of the Asia Pacific Evaluation Association (APEA) in 2012; the first international evaluation association in the region.

 

South-South Roundtable on the Demand & Use of Evidence in Policy Making and Implementation

By: DPME, Ian Goldman

In mid-2013 Gonzalo Hernandez Licona of CONEVAL in Mexico approached Sulley Gariba of the President’s Office in Ghana, and Ian Goldman of the Department of Performance M&E in the Presidency, South Africa, about a potential South-South Roundtable on evaluation, to share experience amongst southern countries. While these partners had shared experience in other fora, these had often been donor-dominated and with narrower concerns than those facing southern countries. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had agreed to finance such an event, and the CLEAR to help organise it.

The discussions between the partners led to an evolution in thinking – that while technocratic exchanges between partners about evaluation systems had some value, the bigger issues facing these countries was about how to get senior policy makers to appreciate the potential of different forms of evidence to inform policy-making, as well as implementation. This led to the design of a South-South roundtable which took place in South Africa in November 2013, involving Mexico, Peru, South Africa, Benin, Uganda, Ghana and India. Participants included Members of Parliament/ Congress, senior public servants, and even a minister from the Office of the Prime Minister in Uganda.

The approach was informal and to promote a very open exchange and learning between countries, without protocol and country egos interfering with the ability to be open about the real problems facing each country, and how evidence could assist in improving development outcomes. A strong facilitation model was used, rather than a formal meeting or workshop model, using techniques from Deep Democracy to assist.

As Gonzalo says “For Mexico in particular, the roundtable was useful because many stakeholders were able to speak frankly about the way we see evidence and M&E systems. I guess that for the first time Congress, the Presidency, the Ministry of Social Development, academia (CLEAR) and the evaluation unit, CONEVAL, had enough time to reflect together about the advances and challenges Mexico has regarding evidence. It was clear that Congress and the Presidency have different priorities, for example, and therefore CONEVAL should have this in mind in order to have information for both stakeholders”.

 

Evaluation Resources

Advocating for Evaluation: A toolkit to develop advocacy strategies to strengthen an enabling environment for evaluation

By: EvalPartners in collaboration with other partners

This work is inspired by Paris 21’s advocacy tool-kit and aims to fill a gap at the bottom of the “capacity pyramid” (on the enabling environment for evaluation) by advocating for the “demand side” of evaluation. The toolkit was jointly developed by EvalPartners, IOCE and UNWOMEN in partnership with UNEG, UNICEF, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and USAID. The final publication “Advocating for Evaluation: A toolkit to develop advocacy strategies to strengthen an enabling environment for evaluation” is now available, for free download here and e-version. The focus of the toolkit is to help civil society organisations, VOPEs, governments and other development partners to: learn how strategic advocacy can be leveraged to increase the demand for evaluation; acquire essential skills to become an effective advocate for building an enabling environment for evaluation; devise a long-term advocacy strategy to develop and implement equity and gender sensitive national evaluation policies and systems; respond quickly to seize any unplanned advocacy opportunity to build a culture of evaluation. We hope the toolkit is useful to members and partners. An e-learning tool is currently being developed (led by Marco Segone) to support learning from the document and broader use.

Recent Work

The Network continues to serve as a hub for learning about and sharing experiences with capacity development. The 2010 study of Network members, discussions at meetings and a fact-find survey  led by Japan in 2007, have shown that ECD is an increasingly important, active, and challenging area of work. Input on partner-country experiences has been provided by speakers at Network meetings and the Network continues to engage with regional and international evaluation groups on this topic.

Individual members are actively engaged in direct support for capacity development efforts at many levels. Through their own evaluation work, particularly joint evaluations, members also impact partner country capacities indirectly. A paper presented at the June 2009 meeting outlined emerging lessons on how to maximize the positive impacts of donor evaluation work to better support capacity development. A tip-sheet for members on how to maximize the positive impacts of donor evaluation work to better support capacity development was also developed. 

 

Tip-sheet available:

How to Support Capacity Development
through Evaluation

This Tip-sheet provides basic advice to evaluators on how best to support evaluation capacity development through their regular evaluation work, outlining elements of a more “capacity-friendly” approach to evaluating development co-operation.

 

The note was written for the evaluation departments of development agencies, but will also be of interest to country offices, independent evaluators and programme staff concerned with strengthening capacities in developing countries. This tip-sheet is part of the ongoing work of EVALNET to support stronger evaluation capacities.

 

 

Click to download this Tip-sheet

Resources

Read the UNICEF book series on Capacity Development

International Conferences on National Evaluation Capacities:

Johannesburg - South Africa, September 2011 Read the meeting documents

Casablanca - Kingdom of Morocco, 15-17 December 2009Access the 2009 proceedings

Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR): A Multilateral Initiative (11th Meeting PowerPoint, 2010)
Towards a Strategic Partnership for Evaluating Capacity Development (11th Meeting Room Document, 2010)

Supporting partner country ownership and capacity  Unicef experts meeting, January 2010: Hans Lundgren, head of the Secretariat for the Network, and other leading experts discuss country-led evaluation and capacity development.

A strategic approach to supporting evaluation capacity development in partner countries: what is known and suggestions for moving forward (Meeting Room Document and Background Paper, 2009)

Strengthening evaluation capacity in partner countries: What next for the Network? (PowerPoint, 2009)

M&E Capacity Development in the AfCoP-MfDR and the Case in Ethiopia (PowerPoint, 2009)

ECD - Lessons and experiences in Vietnam  (6th Meeting Room Document, 2007) 

ECD Case Study, Learning by Doing, Viet Nam  (6th Meeting PowerPoint, 2007)

ECD Discussion paper  (6th Meeting Room Document, 2007)

Fact-finding study of Network members ECD work (2006)

Partners in Development Evaluation: Learning and Accountability Workshop25-26 March 2003
(25-26 March 2003)

 

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