RE: What can evaluations do in terms of capacity development? | Eval Forward


Thanks for sharing such important issue to discuss. 

I am to tell about my personal experience in this regard: 

Capacity building of evaluand: I think every evaluation helps in developing capacities if it follows the best practices along the journey, working with clients hand by hand to climb the mountain starting from the ridge (uptake of the mission), and mutually understand the evaluation objectives (ToR), then taking the client team to the summit where they feel the need and the importance of evaluation and contribute to tools development and data collection (in other words create the "buy-in"), and later going down the slope with analyzing the results, formulating recommendations and conclusions down to utilizing results, where the evaluators accompany clients to ensure achieving the change.

Actually this is the mountain model (INTRAC/ C4C-Consultants for Change) which I fully respect and appreciate as a typical one. But the reality is different; as a consultant for sure my blame goes to clients who usually do not walk the mountain with you claiming they are busy, and rather put you on the start point, give you some food for thought (documents and guidance) and wait for you on the ridge on the other side of the mountain and rarely even you receive a phone call from them during the journey. They get the report and say bye bye. However, coming back to the issue of learning, it occurs but not to the best it could be. For example restructuring the ToC with a client is a capacity building activity, it is a chance to direct the client on better formulating the ToC. Another thing, giving feedback on the ToR is another opportunity to educate clients.

Participatory evaluation role in capacity building: I think it is the same as in the previous point if we follow the best practices and the client is willing to contribute effectively in the mission, then the whole process is a capacity building. Myself the first time I learned about evaluation (15 years ago) it was when I was asked to act as a contact person on behalf of my employer organization to coordinate for the company conducting the evaluation of a 3 year program. This task was repeated again for another program. So giving me the chance to read the ToR, connect the evaluators to communities, participate  in some data collection activities and later reviewing report, were my first capacity building opportunities in evaluation.

Evaluating Capacity building component: This does not happen actually in all evaluations I participated in so far.

This are my quick thoughts of the issue.

Good Luck

Naser Qadous