Lessons in Evaluation Capacity Development

The Independent Evaluation Department conducted two evaluations on the performance of selected technical assistance (TA) projects focused on evaluation capacity development. These are:

The chief lessons learned from evaluation of the above interventions are:

  • The pre-conditions to evaluation capacity development (ECD) success include
    • substantive government demand;
    • existence of a mandate by decree for evaluation; and
    • stability in staffing such that a very high proportion of trained personnel remain in tasks for which they were trained.
  • ECD requires a vantage point encompassing data collection in the field to aggregation and analysis by end users via reliable data systems.
  • ECD that concentrates on the oversight agency carries the risk that other entities may lack incentives to provide data and information.
  • Locating responsibility for M&E near the capable head of an organization can secure the required status, budget, and staff support, and the ability to operate across organizational boundaries.
  • To develop staff competency and the confidence to carry out M&E—as opposed to merely creating awareness of its importance and basic knowledge of tools, methods, and approaches—case studies are desirable.
  • ECD must take care that M&E systems do not become supply-driven, or too complex or resource intensive to sustain.
  • Establishing M&E systems is a means to an end—benefits are obtained when results are used in decision making on strategy, policy, operations, budget, and investment. The design of ECD should include features that encourage, facilitate, and formalize incorporation of results in decision making.