Monday, May 27, 2013

What is an Evaluation

Development Monitoring and Evaluation of a Programme

Many implementing developmental organizations may be running a set of activities over a space of time within a certain amount of resources. Programmes such as these have specific activities and specific time frames and specific resources attached to these different interventions. Now at the end of the day different stakeholders would like to adequately know the successes or failures of the developmental programme that your organization may have achieved. What better way to do it than to provide results derived through reports from Monitoring and Evaluation. Although Monitoring is done regularly, many stakeholders would like to have an evaluation also that provides a comprehensive in depth assessment adequately describing how the programme really performed thus helping to make better decisions in future. All in all an evaluation is an indepth assessment of the programme that you have been implementing over the years and it is usually conducted by an independent evaluator just so that their is an independent view of how your implementation performed. Scary isn't it? You wouldn't like to lose out on that funding now do you?

What is an Evaluation when done at the end of a programme?

What this question above is really asking you is not what an evaluation is but what it means to your organization at the end of the programme. You must realize that it could mean two things namely failure or success. If your programme implementation was a success then that is truly a thumbs up to the implementing organization, to all developmental programme staff and to all developmental partners. In such a case it demonstrates the level of committment  exhibited by all who were involved. Quite frankly, it also justifies why the programme should continue being funded. You see ladies and gentlemen, whether you like it or not donors want to see results whether or not there is a good reason to have them. Results only come about when you as an organization invest in Monitoring and Evaluating your activities. Can you imagine how embarassing it is when an evaluator walks into your office and doesn't find a single Monitoring and Evaluation report. You will be lucky if the donor will give you a second chance because quit frankly researcher, he wouldn't. Serious organizations budget for Monitoring and Evaluation and only the serious ones make it to the top. Lets see what it means when your programme has been evaluated to be a total failure.

What is an Evaluation when your programme has failed

Again here we mean, when the evaluation is done and over what can you learn from your failure. Well quit frankly evaluators wont tell you to your face that you are a total mess especially if it is you who contracted them to evaluate you. Add the pieces together they need the money and they want you to call them back again. however, most evaluators will find a better way to explain your failure by using words like "Should we continue to use this mode of doing things?" or "Maybe staff costs are too costly for this programme." The truth is most programmes don't fail horribly but failure just means that things didn't really go according to plan and there could be a lot of reasons to that from the political climate in a country, unforeseen circumstances, staff turnover or even climate. Findings from an evaluation should allow to better improve the way you do things and help you plan for better indicators and a better programme in future. Programme evaluation is not really about the blame game, but when an organization undertakes and evaluation you want it to be a learning process that will help you better your implementations in future. So when doing organization Monitoring and Evaluation, it should be a management tool that should among other things learn from your mistakes.


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