A Comparative Study of Evaluation Policies and Practices in Development Agencies
This study was commissioned to map and compare evaluation practices across development agencies, primarily with a view to stimulate an internal debate within AFD on its evaluation systems during a time of reform.
This study was commissioned to map and compare evaluation practices across development agencies, primarily with a view to stimulate an internal debate within AFD on its evaluation systems during a time of reform. However, we believe that the report can stimulate a wider debate within the development evaluation community as it complements the existing literature on donor policies and the individual case studies of good practice.
Nine agencies were reviewed as part of this study. The results show that there is indeed variation among the strategies and practices adopted by different evaluation units, in terms of both internal arrangements and different roles and responsibilities fulfilled. This is partly explained by the fact that units are increasingly expected to fulfil a variety of different roles and to engage in a wide range of activities. However, evaluation units share a number of common features and challenges, and are on a similar journey (although at different stages), from a relatively straightforward model of project evaluation aimed at internal management and accountability, towards a more complex model of policy, country and partner- ship-led evaluation, which requires new skills, roles and organisational arrangements.
Summing up, the report describes an apparent disconnect between the rhetoric on the strategic and growing importance of development evaluation, and evaluation practice in many development agencies. This “institutional evaluation gap” calls for greater attention to institutional approaches to evaluation, arrangements and capacity. And perhaps for a more collective effort among the key players in development evaluation.