Selected Technical Assistance for Strengthening Evaluation Capacity in Developing Member Countries

Date: July 2001
Type: Evaluation Reports
Country:
Subject:
ADB funds and products; Capacity development; Evaluation
Series: Technical Assistance Performance Evaluation Reports

Description

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided 14 technical assistance (TA) grants to build evaluation capability in seven of its developing member countries (DMCs). Three phases can be distinguished in this assistance:

  • Phase 1: TAs focused on building a post-evaluation capacity within a central agency and providing the means for disseminating postevaluation findings for decision-making.
  • Phase 2: TAs aimed to establish ADB's project performance management system in central and sector agencies
  • Phase 3: TAs aimed to build more generic results monitoring and evaluation capability.

For this report, six TAs implemented in Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka were assessed, the ratings of which had mixed results.

Summary of findings

  • Phase 1 TAs produced most outputs to a generally high standard and achieved their purpose by completion. However, only in Sri Lanka has the impact been sustained.
  • A lack of demand for the results of performance evaluation affects sustainability.
  • From the country perspective, there was very limited awareness of the importance of evaluation, either post-evaluation or performance evaluation, at the time of approval.
  • None of the Phase 2 TAs succeeded in establishing a functioning project performance management system. However, the work done provided skills and created awareness that became available to subsequent efforts to introduce results monitoring and evaluation.
  • The introduction of computerized post-evaluation or performance evaluation information systems brought mixed results because of institutional, management, and social factors.

Lessons identified

  • Stability of trained staff, high-level support, and the existence of a mandate by decree for evaluation are factors that contribute to success.
  • More thorough preparation of future TAs should ensure high-level ownership and commitment, and participation of key stakeholders in formulation and design.
  • If the necessary conditions for public sector capacity building are not met, an assessment must determine whether the systemic or underlying problems should be addressed first.
  • Building DMC capacity requires a holistic approach, considering the needs at all levels.
  • The location of responsibility for evaluation within organizational hierarchies is also important.
  • During TA design and implementation, care needs to be taken that performance evaluation systems do not become "supply-driven", too complex, and too resource intensive to sustain.
  • Establishing performance evaluation systems is a means to an end- benefits are obtained when the results are used in decision making. TA design should include specific features to encourage, facilitate, and formalize the incorporation of evaluation results in decision-making.
  • A case study approach is needed to develop staff competency and confidence to carry out evaluation.
  • For larger TAs, a firm or institution should be recruited, rather than individuals.
  • The pace of TA implementation should be driven by DMC sense of ownership and commitment.
  • The introduction of computerized information systems is not a solution to poorly performing manual systems. Various institutional, management, and social factors need to be taken into account.