COMING OF AGE OF JOINT EVALUATIONS? ALNAP Presentation at OECD-DAC 21

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COMING OF AGE
OF JOINT EVALUATIONS?
ALNAP Presentation at OECD-DAC
21st January 2008
Agenda
Background
Findings
Future Agenda for Humanitarian JEs
Other relevant ALNAP work
2
Background
 ALNAP is a network of all the major humanitarian actors
 Now in its tenth year
 Works to improve humanitarian performance through
learning and accountability
 Range of products and outputs, including a meta
evaluation of humanitarian evaluations
 periodic review a sample of evaluation reports against a Quality
Proforma which has been developed according to accepted evaluation
good practice.
 Systematic use of the Proforma over a number of years has made it
possible to identify trends in evaluation quality over time.
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The ALNAP meta-evaluation series
 Meta-evaluation defined as
 “meta-analysis and other forms of systematic synthesis of evaluations providing the
information resources for a continuous improvement of evaluation practice”.
 Overall aim of ALNAP meta evaluation is
 “...to improve evaluation practice, by identifying areas of weakness that deserve
attention, and examples of good practice that can be built upon...”
 There is qualitative evidence that this aim is being met
 E.g. the use of DAC criteria in EHA has gradually strengthened in the last few years;
consultation with primary stakeholders has improved in evaluation methodology
(despite still being poorly rated overall)
 In other areas there has been little or no improvement, for example attention to crosscutting issues such as gender equality, protection and advocacy
 Where improvement in quality has been noted, it has usually
happened quite gradually
.
4
Humanitarian Joint Evaluations
 In the humanitarian sector, the first significant joint
evaluation was the seminal multi-agency Rwanda
evaluation in 1996
 shorter history than in the development sector
 Subsequent JEs have usually been collaborative efforts
of donor governments, but involvement is broadening to
include UN and NGOs
 The 6th ALNAP Meta Evaluation focuses on growing
number of Joint Evaluations
 Currently being finalised, findings presented here for discussion
and debate
5
6th ALNAP Meta evaluation: specific
objectives
 To review the quality of joint evaluation exercises, where
possible comparing these with the quality of past single
agency evaluations reviewed in previous ALNAP metaevaluations;
 To document in an accessible way the lessons from the
growing experience of humanitarian JEs – especially
examples of good practice – to feed into future joint
endeavours
 Thus, to make a significant contribution to the emerging
body of knowledge about humanitarian JEs
6
Meta Evaluation Methodology
 The methodology used was comparable to previous metaevaluations, based on a sample of 18 evaluation reports
 The quality of the evaluation reports has been assessed against the
ALNAP Quality Proforma (slightly adapted to be appropriate to JEs)
 http://www.alnap.org/resources/quality_proforma.htm
 The evaluation processes have been reviewed through individual
and group interviews with those involved in the JEs, iterating
between these two methods
 Interviews have been carried out with representatives from 15 different
organisations as well as lead / central evaluators
 The data from the assessment against the Proforma was analysed
and compared with the results from previous ALNAP metaevaluations, which have covered a total of 138 evaluations.
7
Typology of JEs (adapted from DAC,
2005)
 ‘Like-minded agencies’ (or qualified): agencies with similar
characteristics coming together




WFP/ UNHCR pilot food distribution (UN agencies operating to an MOU)
All ECB evaluations (group of NGOs);
DEC evaluations (group of NGOs);
IASC RTEs (UN agencies)
 Most common
 ‘Partnership’: donor recipient agencies evaluate together as equal
partners
 ECHO/ WHO/ DFID JE: WHO emergency response, Pakistan
 ‘Hybrid multi-partner’: disparate actors coming together playing
variable roles (eg active/ passive)
 IHE evaluations (comprising UN agencies, NGOs academics, recipient
government etc)
 ‘System-wide’: open to all actors in the system
 TEC
8
Agenda
Background
Findings
A Future Agenda for Humanitarian JEs
Other relevant ALNAP work
9
Ten Hypotheses to be tested

Humanitarian Joint Evaluations...
1. help to build trust and social capital within the sector
2. tend to be driven from the centre (ie headquarters)
than the field
3. do not involve sufficiently the government of the
area affected by the humanitarian crisis
4. offer greater opportunity for beneficiaries to be
consulted/ surveyed than in single agency
evaluations
5. have more rigorous methodologies than single
agency evaluations
10
Ten Hypotheses to be tested

Humanitarian Joint Evaluations...
6. pay more attention to international standards and
guidelines than single agency evaluations
7. are stronger on cross-cutting issues such as gender
and protection than single agency evaluations
8. overall quality tends to be higher than single agency
evaluations
9. are more likely to address both policy issues and
programme performance than single agency
evaluations
10. pay attention to wider debates within the
humanitarian sector, and situate their findings
accordingly
11
Findings in relation to hypotheses (1)
 JEs are no longer solely the domain of donor governments, the early
champions of JEs
 UN agencies and some NGOs are now fully engaged
 still early days, and some efforts to promote and institutionalise a JE approach
have come and gone, despite evidence that JEs help to build trust and social
capital amongst the participating organisations (hypothesis 1)
 JEs have so far been northern and headquarters-driven (hypothesis
2)
 Reflecting the set-up of international humanitarian agencies
 Real progress is needed in in fully involving stakeholders in-country
- national NGOs, other organisations and governments
 Generally poorly represented (hypothesis 3). Involving latter will be easier in
natural disasters than in conflict-related humanitarian crises, especially if
government is an active party in the conflict
 There may be important lessons for the humanitarian sector from JEs on the
development side, from work done by DAC to strengthen developing country
participation and from the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness
12
Findings in relation to hypotheses (2)
 Conclusive evidence that JEs are overall of higher quality. than
single agency (hypothesis 8)
 their terms of reference are generally clearer and more useable
 consultation with local populations and beneficiaries is stronger (hypothesis 4)
 more attention is paid to international standards (hypothesis 6); and the OECDDAC EHA criteria are more rigorously used
 JEs have more rigorous methodologies than single agency
evaluations is proven, but not across the board (hypothesis 5)
 There are striking gaps and weaknesses in the JEs reviewed, especially their
attention to cross-cutting issues such as gender equality, protection and
advocacy (hypothesis 7).
 Hypotheses that JEs are more likely to address policy issues and
locate their findings within wider debates within the sector met with a
mixed response (hypotheses 9 and 10)
 There is some evidence of this (e.g. UN-led humanitarian reform processes), but
also missed opportunities, a number of JEs in our sample had not fulfilled this
potential, despite the generally high quality
13
Broader findings: most JEs of
humanitarian action are multisectoral,
focus on a particular humanitarian crisis
FOCUS OR SCOPE OF EVALUATION
Program
focus
H
O
W
A
C
T
O
R
S
W
O
R
K
T
O
G
E
T
H
E
R
Institutional
Sectoral or
thematic focus
‘Partnership’: donor &
recipient agencies evaluate
together as equal partners
ECHO/ WHO/ DFID
JE: WHO emergency
response, Pakistan
‘Like-minded agencies’ (or
qualified): agencies with
similar characteristics
coming together
WFP/ UNHCR pilot
food distribution (UN
agencies operating to
an MOU)
‘Hybrid multi-partner’:
disparate actors coming
together playing variable
roles (eg active/ passive)
IHE evaluations
(comprising UN
agencies, NGOs,
academics, recipient
government etc)
‘System-wide’: open to all
actors in the system
Multi-sectoral focus, related
to a particular humanitarian
crisis (usually bounded
geographically)
Global eg
global
Policy
All ECB evaluations (group of
NGOs); DEC evaluations
(group of NGOs);
IASC RTEs (UN agencies)
TEC evaluation
14
Broader findings: Purpose of JEs
 The ToR for most JEs in the sample emphasise both accountability
and learning as their purpose
 in practice learning has dominated
 ranging from learning about partners’ approaches, to sharing good practice, to
learning about the programme or initiative being evaluated
 Both the TEC and ECB clearly identified another learning purpose: to learn from
the process of implementing a joint evaluation, and buyild evaluation capacity
 Accountability is partially met by JE reports ending up in the public
domain. Peer accountability is also strong in JEs which usually
demand a higher level of transparency than single agency
evaluations
 Other purposes of JEs include: building evaluation capacity, learning
about the process of doing JEs, and relationship-building between
participating agencies
15
Broader Findings: JE skillset
 JEs require a different skill set than single
agency evaluations
technical, political and inter-personal skills
 Getting the right evaluation team in place is key
the pool of sufficiently skilled evaluators for JEs is
small compared with demand, implying a need to
invest in evaluator capacity
 For policy-focussed evaluations, there are
benefits of hiring policy analysts to lead or be
part of the team.
16
Broader Findings: Follow-up & utilisation
 Generally more accessible than single agency evaluation reports
 Possibly because of the higher skill set of evaluation team leaders
 Use of professional report editors may play a role
 Conclusions are slightly stronger than evaluations in previous years,
but there is little difference in the quality of recommendations
 strongest sets of recommendations were those targeted to individual agencies or
where responsibility was clearly indicated
 the weakest where there were too many recommendations and/ or they were
inadequately focussed
 Utilisation-focus is more challenging for JEs because of the range of
stakeholders involved with different needs
 weak link in the chain
 there are examples of good practice in terms of how the process is designed at
the outset and how the evaluation team engages with stakeholders, especially incountry.
 When JEs are part of a wider institutional framework/ relationship,
there tend to be better-established mechanisms for discussion and
follow-up to recommendations
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Broader findings: coherence with single
agency evaluations
 “Should JEs replace or reduce the need for single agency
evaluations?”
 Active but distracting debate
 “they are very different animals” with different purposes
 JEs can fulfil accountability purposes, but at a different level needs of a single
agency. Accountability to peers, and to some extent to beneficiaries through
stronger consultation, are features of a number of the JEs in our set.
 But if individual agencies need to be accountable to their funders in any detail, a
JE may not fulfil this need.
 JEs clearly complement single agency evaluations by placing the
response in the bigger picture/ wider context, exploring how
agencies work together, and addressing wider policy issues.
 when a “club” group of like-minded agencies come together to evaluate their
work in a particular area (e.g. ECB / UN) reducing the number of evaluation
teams on the ground asking very similar questions of local communities,
government officers and others, is clearly a good thing.
 Fewer but more considered JEs of this type may facilitate follow-up by reducing
the overload on the humanitarian sector
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Agenda
Background
Findings
A future agenda
Follow up ALNAP work
19
Where next for humanitarian JEs?
 Project that analyses and describes the pros and cons of different
collaborative management structures, to guide decision-makers in
their future choices
 Action research project exploring different and creative ways of
consulting beneficiaries
 JEs in some thematic and policy areas in the humanitarian sector
that are relatively new and/ or challenging to the international
system
 e.g. protection as part of humanitarian action, or livelihood support in the midst of
a humanitarian crisis
 JEs should play a more active role in agency evaluation policies,
based on clear understanding of the relative costs and benefits of
different types of JEs
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Where next for humanitarian JEs? A
planned system-wide JE
 A 3rd system-wide humanitarian evaluation should be
considered in the next 18 months, focussed on a
significant but relatively forgotten/ under-evaluated
humanitarian crisis, for example in eastern DRC
 The sector has much to learn from such an exercise, yet there
would be less pressure to act fast at the expense of process, and
it would provide an opportunity to apply the learnings from the
TEC whilst they are still fresh. This proposal should be
discussed by the ALNAP membership and the wider aid
community.
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Agenda
Background
Findings
Future Agenda for Humanitarian JEs
Follow up ALNAP work
22
ALNAP follow up work of relevance to
the OECD-DAC Evaluation Network
 Workshop on Humanitarian JEs (2nd half 2008)
 ALNAP Guide to Real Time Evaluation
end of March 2008
 Humanitarian Evaluation Trends and Issues
initiating case study based research of humanitarian
evaluation, background study nearing completion
 7th ALNAP Meta Evaluation (2009) on RTEs
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Thank you!
 6th ALNAP Meta Evaluation Available in March /
April
 Please get in touch for copies
 Ben Ramalingam
[email protected]
www.alnap.org
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