Development Evaluation: Making Evaluation Count!

Are you contemplating or even commissioning an evaluation because it is “expected” of you or “required” by the donor?

Seems like the right “thing” to do as a development practitioner?

Or are you interested in making it “count”?

These are some of the questions that project teams and development professionals often face in determining if and why an evaluation should be done.

Development evaluation must be intended to “count”.

Making development evaluation “count” means that it is used to further learning and decision making about how well and to what extent projects, programmes, policies and other development initiatives are meeting/have met their objectives and recommendations on the way forward.

Critical to making an evaluation “count” is effectively engaging key stakeholders in the process as well as translating the findings and recommendations into changes for sustainable improvement at multiple levels including individuals/beneficiary groups, organisations, policy or even national/regional development thrusts.

Evaluation should be a means to an end rather than an end in itself!

In other words, development evaluation is not just producing detailed reports or great power point slide decks, but rather, advancing the development (and learning) agenda for key stakeholders.

The OECD has a series of evaluation summaries called “Evaluation Insights” that capture key lessons from development evaluation.