Friday, June 28, 2013

External Evaluation versus Internal Evaluation, Your World

Does it Really make a difference??

Conducting an Evaluation for a programme or project is one of the best things any developmental organization can look forward to especially if there is an optimistic sense that good results were achieved. You have to admit however, that most times an Evaluation will always be a really tense moment for all programme or project staff. Whatever the case, Evaluations have a very unique purpose in the project or programme cycle which should never ever be ignored. Ever thought of conducting an Evaluation for your just ended programme or project? The answer is obvious right? But have you ever decided whether you should conduct this Evaluation internally or externally? What do these two terms really mean anyway? Is there any difference between the two? So many questions but few answers.....Lets get started shall we.

An Internal, Make it happen

So what exactly is an internal evaluation if you come to think of it? Well an internal evaluation is the process of assigning staff members in an organization to conduct an Evaluation of programmes or projects being implemented by the same organization. In short, this Evaluation is done by staff members for the organizations...Easy isn't it? But you see although it isn't objective there are benefits of choosing this approach. Mmmmmmmm????......I know what you mean, but don't be immediately put off because down here are a list of benefits.

Benefits of Internal Evaluations
  • Since the Evaluator is an employee you will be more than certain that he has already existing knowledge about the organization which could contribute substantially to the Evaluation. Unlike having somebody else do it and start from scratch to learn about all the systems in place, your employee would have already known about everything.
  • Internal Evaluations are relatively cost effective because they are done in-house 
  • An Internal Evaluator is usually already know by fellow organizational staff thus causing less Evaluation anxiety and therefore better able to communicate findings.

An External Evaluation, Perhaps the most common

External Evaluation involves contracting an External consultant or specialist to carry out an Evaluation who is not an employee of an organization. In most cases this is usually what developmental organizations choose to go for due to various reasons. Evaluations like this are sometimes criticized for being too expensive and most times the evaluator does not understand the organization to the full. But what really is the main reason why External Evaluators are usually contracted for such a weighty task? What really is the catch HUH? What really are the benefits if you come to think of it?

Benefits of External Evaluations
  •  These kinds of Evaluations are definitely the most objective kind of Evaluations you can ever have in the world. You know how it is right? its easier for someone outside the organization to citicise the organization than for somebody from within. When an Evaluator is objective and critical thats what makes an Evaluation an Evaluation. There is no project or programme out there that is perfect. A real Evaluator has to call a spade a spade. So no hard feelings, if you have an External Evaluator right now evaluating your programme or project his just doing his job.
  • External Evaluators are usually specialized in one field and have vast experience. You may have a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer in your midst but may not be specialized in the field. External Evaluators usually are.
  • External Evaluators usually have high credibility....No explanations needed!
After having this brief understanding of the two kinds of Evaluations, you can make the final decision. Remember, both have their benefits and remember both can actually provide the information you are looking for. Remember to take Monitoring and Evaluation to a whole different level folks. 


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