Evaluating European structural and investment funds in the Czech Republic: from knowledge to decision-making
3rd conference of The National Coordination Authority’s Evaluation Unit, Czech Republic
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) participated in the 3rd conference of the National Coordination Authority’s Evaluation Unit, Czech Republic, which took place on 22 November in Prague. The main theme of this year’s conference was to shift “from knowledge to decision-making”.
In the second part of the conference, Ms Johanna Pennarz, IOE Lead Evaluation Officer, delivered a presentation on promoting accountability and learning through the independent evaluation function – experiences from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The objective of this presentation was to share the experiences from the independent evaluation function at IFAD, which has been set up to strengthen accountability and learning.
Oscar A. Garcia, member of the IFAD delegation that visited Bangladesh
Members of the Executive Board and senior staff of IFAD travelled to Bangladesh from 25 to 30 November 2017 to visit the Participatory Small-scale Water Resources Sector Project, the Haor Infrastructure and Livelihood Improvement Project and the Promoting Agricultural Commercialization and Enterprises Project in the communities of Bagha, Narayonpur, Tokerghat and Aluto - co-funded by IFAD and the Bangladesh Government - and to meet with high-level government officials, representatives of the United Nations system in Bangladesh and other international financial institutions working in the country. Mr Oscar A. Garcia, Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD was one of the high officials who accompanied the delegation.
The year 2017 marks 40 years of partnership and cooperation between IFAD and the Government of Bangladesh. In addition to being IFAD’s third largest investment portfolio to date – with 25 completed projects, six ongoing and two more in the works – Bangladesh is also the first country in which IFAD projects were implemented. Since 1978, IFAD has invested US$717.2 million in loans and grants for 31 rural development projects, improving the livelihoods of 10.7 million households.
The objectives of the country visit were to strengthen the partnership between IFAD’s Executive Board, the Government and IFAD Management; chart IFAD’s 40 years operations in the country; reflect on the portfolio’s progress; and discuss the way forward and future collaboration. The visit was expected to contribute to better IFAD operations and strategies in Bangladesh and enhance IFAD governing bodies knowledge of the country.
Mr Garcia delivered a presentation of the country programme evaluation of IFAD-funded operations in Bangladesh that IOE completed in 2016. The main recommendations refer to: (1) Stronger focus on agriculture. Strengthening investments in extension and research, supply chain development, intensification, diversification, livestock and inland fisheries; (2) Access to credit to remain a priority: More specific mechanisms and further capacity development of the functionaries and specialized credit products and services are required (debt management, technology; business and marketing capacity development) if new projects are designed to link with the existing portfolio with export-led value chains; (3) Maintain environmental protection as a priority in light of emerging challenges: Carefully balance two competing priorities of environmental protection and poverty reduction in the context of two confronting realities of increasing agricultural intensity and population pressure; (4) Broadening policy and institutional support for the IFAD-supported programme: Engage more proactively with ministries at the central level. Engage as a partner in nation-wide policy processes; (5) Further investment in knowledge management: Develop a knowledge management strategy, including a plan for generating specific knowledge products.
The nine members of the Executive Board who visited the project are representatives from Angola, Brazil, China, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico and Nigeria.
American Evaluation Association Annual Conference “From Learning to Action"
IFAD participated in the 31st Annual Conference “From Learning to Action" of the American Evaluation Association (AEA), which took place on November 6 to 11 in Washington, D.C.
Mr Fabrizio Felloni, Deputy Director, IOE, hosted a poster presentation on decentralizing for better development result - the evaluation of IFAD's decentralization experience. The session focused on main findings and recommendations of the recently released corporate-level evaluation on decentralization experience. The decentralization process started in 2003 at IFAD. By bringing IFAD closer to the country development context and actors, this was expected to improve project and strategy design and implementation support and improve donor coordination.
Also, Mr Felloni, moderated the session on self and independent evaluation systems: experiences from international financial institutions – The case of the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Bank. In the session Mr Felloni and Ms Natalia Toschi, Senior Results Specialist, IFAD, held a joint presentation on Self and independent evaluation function at IFAD with the Independent Evaluation Group of World Bank. The panel compared the experience of IFAD and the World Bank and discussed the evolution of self and independent evaluation systems, how they have contributed to improve institutional effectiveness and development results and what are challenges and opportunities for further improvements.
Fumiko Nakai, IOE Senior Evaluation Officer, delivered a presentation on: engagement with indigenous peoples: lessons from evaluations on IFAD's experience in supporting agricultural and rural development at the session titled learning to action across international evaluation: food and agriculture. The presentation focused on lessons and good practices based on a synthesis of past evaluations on projects and programmes involving indigenous peoples.
Evaluation is dependent on learning from each other and putting theory into action. The conference explored four ways that our community can learn from evaluation to create better practices and outcomes: (i) Learning to enhance evaluation practices; (ii) Learning what works and why; (iii) Learning from others; and (iv) Learning about evaluation users and uses.
The conference brought together evaluators, evaluation scholars, students, and evaluation users from around the world.
Fall Meeting of the Evaluation Cooperation Group of multilateral development banks
IFAD hosted the Annual Fall Meeting of the Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG) of multilateral development banks on 2 and 3 November 2017, at its headquarters.
The two-day event was organized by IFAD/IOE, as the ECG secretariat for 2017, and chaired by IOE Director. The meeting was attended by the heads of evaluation and evaluation officers from multilateral development banks members of the ECG, as well as observers from other agencies.
The participants shared their knowledge and experience about evaluation strategies, policies and practices, providing updates on recent developments in each agency.
Webinar: What works for gender equality and women's empowerment – a conceptual framework for evaluating transformational change
As a follow-up to the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) study on "Evaluation Use in the UN System", the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) held a webinar discussions on:
What works for gender equality and women's empowerment – a conceptual framework for evaluating transformational change
The focus of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development is on transformative change. In its preamble, the "Outcome Document" calls for bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path, and it includes a number of goals that are of transformative nature. Transformative approaches aim to overcome the root causes of inequality and discrimination through promoting sustainable and far reaching change. But what does "transformative change" mean in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
IFAD has prepared an evaluation synthesis on "What Works for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment" based on a systematic review of 57 reports prepared by IOE since 2011. The report provides a working definition and a conceptual framework for identifying gender transformative practices that address root causes of gender equality and discrimination and promote sustainable, inclusive and far reaching social change. A common characteristic of transformative approaches is that they challenge existing social norms and the distribution of power and resources.
Objectives of this webinar were to clarify the concept of 'gender-transformative change' through the conceptual framework and theory of change used for this evaluation synthesis report; present the synthesis methodology and its challenges; identify examples of transformative change processes and how they are captured in evaluation in the context of specific SDGs.
The webinar was moderated by Mr Oscar Garcia, Director, IOE, Ms Johanna Pennarz, Lead Evaluation Officer, IOE and Catrina Perch, Evaluation Officer, IOE. Over 41 people were connected through the webEx.
Conference on National Evaluation Capacities 2017
The Independent Evaluation Office of the United Nations Development Programme and the Regional Bureau for Europe and CIS co-hosted with the Government of Turkey - the 2017 National Evaluation Capacities Conference in Istanbul from 16 to 20 October 2017.
The Conference's theme was People, Planet and Progress in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Era, and the objectives were to:
- Present and exchange lessons, innovations, experiences and perspectives in developing and adapting national evaluation capacities in light of the SDGs;
- Explore the implications of the SDGs for principals, principles and practices of evaluation;
- Develop partnerships to strengthen national evaluation systems.
Chitra Deshpande, IOE Senior Evaluation Officer, participated as a speaker in a discussion on the parallel session "From data to decisions: How is New Data Altering Evaluation, Policy and Programming in Real Time?" This session sought to look at some innovative practices in measurement in real time, and how these could be applied in the development sector for measuring the SDGs, especially Tier 3 indicators. It brought together development actors and governmental representatives to share some of the cutting edge experiences in using different sources of data (big data, crowd-sourcing, etc.) to understand the impact of the different interventions. The panel presentations brought together IFAD's experience in using new technologies for evaluation based on the ICT for evaluation international conference hosted by IFAD in Rome on 6-7 June 2017, of UN Global Pulse (Paula Hildago) in using big data in Uganda, and MiLab (Dmitri Belan) in using big data regarding energy bills to track migratory patterns of the rural population in Moldova.
Ms Deshpande's presentation on "The role of ICTs in generating new data for evaluations" opened the session providing a chapeau for the topic by presenting overall advantages and concerns in using new technologies for new data collection, analysis and dissemination in the context of evaluation. The 70 participants in the session were interested in discussing the cost efficiencies and effectiveness of new technologies in developing contexts as well as challenges of generating news data in terms of working with departments of statistics and censures.
The Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG) Gender Practitioner Workshop
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) participated in the Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG) Gender Practitioner Workshop, which was organized by the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank. The workshop took place on 27 and 28 September 2017 in Washington D. C., United States.
The workshop brought together evaluators from various international financial institutions that are members of the ECG such as the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Global Environment Facility, Inter-American Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, as well as UN Women. The sessions stimulated a discussion on the approaches, challenges, and solutions to integrate gender in evaluation in both projects and country strategies to improve the methods and the quality of evaluations.
Ms Catrina Perch, IOE Evaluation Officer, held a joint session with the Independent Evaluation Group on evaluating gender in community driven development and rural development projects. During this session IOE presented the conceptual framework used in a Synthesis Evaluation Report to identify 'gender transformative change' in line with the 2013 agenda for sustainable development.
A common characteristic of transformative approaches is that they challenge existing social norms and the distribution of power and resources. The session also discussed ADB’s and IEG's experience in evaluating community driven development and rural development components of agriculture projects from a gender lens.
Call for interest for senior consultants
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) plans to undertake in 2018 the following evaluations:
1. A Corporate-level Evaluation (CLE) on agriculture-related, pro-poor, value chain development;
2. Five Country Strategy and Programme Evaluations (language of the report in parenthesis): Burkina Faso (French), Kenya (English), Mexico (Spanish); Sri Lanka (English), Tunisia (French);
3. Two Evaluation Syntheses on: (i) Rural finance approaches in IFAD-funded projects; and; (ii) IFAD support to technical innovations for rural poverty reduction.
IOE is seeking expressions of interest by senior consultants to contribute to these evaluations as team members. The consultants that will be selected will support the development of the evaluations' methodology, conduct analytical work (documentation analysis, key informant interviews at IFAD and in developing countries, field visits in project areas). Under the guidance of IOE, consultants will draft technical working papers and provide input to the main evaluation report. Each evaluation will be conducted under the leadership of an IOE staff member. IOE promotes innovative approaches and ideas as well as the use of contemporary techniques and technologies for evaluation.
The above evaluations will contribute to accountability, learning and transparency in reporting on development results. They will be conducted in accordance with IFAD's Evaluation Policy and IFAD's Evaluation Manual (2015 edition):
Examples of previous evaluations may be found in our website (links below).
A. Corporate-level Evaluation
Advanced University degree in Economics, Agriculture, Rural Development, Finance, Public Policy, Social Sciences or related studies. At least 15 (fifteen) years of professional experience, including in the assessment, review, evaluation of sectoral strategies, corporate policies in multilateral organizations. Demonstrated knowledge of rural development issues such as market access and value chain development programmes and / or value chain financing in rural areas. Excellent analytical skills. Fluency and excellent English writing skills.
Desirable requirements: Previous experience in conducting a corporate-level evaluation for an independent evaluation office of an IFI. Advanced skills in qualitative or quantitative data collection analysis and experience in applying information and communication technology to the same.
B. Evaluation Syntheses
Advanced University degree in Economics, Agriculture, Rural Development, Finance, Public Policy, Social Sciences or related studies. At least 15 (fifteen) years of professional experience, including in the assessment, review, evaluation of sectoral strategies, corporate policies in multilateral organizations. Excellent analytical skills. Fluency and excellent English writing skills.
Desirable requirements: Expertise in rural finance issues in the case of the Synthesis on rural finance approaches.
C. Country Strategy and Programme Evaluations
Advanced University degree in Economics, Agriculture, Rural Development, Finance, Public Policy, Social Sciences or related studies. At least 10 (ten) years of professional experience, including in the assessment or evaluation of multilateral rural development programmes. Thematic expertise in at least one of the following areas: agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry development, rural finance, rural enterprises, natural resource management, climate change, food security and nutrition, gender and women's empowerment, and/or participatory community development. Fluency and excellent writing skills in one of the following languages: French (Burkina Faso, Tunisia), Spanish (Mexico), English (Kenya, Sri Lanka).
Desirable requirements: experience in country or sectoral-level assessment and/or evaluation. Advanced skills in qualitative or quantitative data collection analysis and experience in applying information and communication technology to the same.
How to apply:
- Please send an updated curriculum vitae to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 October 2017.
- Indicate which evaluations you are applying for (maximum three options).
Note that IOE will apply its rules on conflict of interest. These exclude anyone with previous involvement in the design, supervision, implementation support of projects, programmes or corporate policies being evaluated.
Corporate-Level Evaluation on IFAD’s Financial Architecture - Self-Assessment Seminar
In collaboration with IFAD Management, IOE organized a half-day seminar on Management’s self-assessment of the ongoing corporate-level evaluation on IFAD’s financial architecture.
The seminar took place on 19 September. The objective was to review and discuss IFAD Management’s experience and perspectives on the financial architecture: the points of strengths, the areas identified for improvement and the main changes and reforms planned.
2017 Asian Evaluation Week
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) participated in the 2017 Asian Evaluation Week (AEW), co-sponsored by the People’s Republic of China, Ministry of Finance; Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Institute; and Asian Development Bank Independent Evaluation Department, held from 4 to 8 September 2017 in Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China.
The theme of the 2017 AEW was “Evaluation for Policymaking.” with special focus on inclusive growth. The AEW demonstrated how evaluation findings can help or get into the policy-making process, the practices and approaches that support this, and examples of influential evaluations that showcase how evaluation findings support policies.
Mr Oscar A. Garcia, Director of IOE, hosted a session on how can the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in evaluation strengthen the evidence base for policymaking? Mr Garcia presented the main conclusions emerging from the ICT4Eval international conference hosted by IFAD in Rome on 6-7 June 2017. He presented some of the latest innovative approaches and best practices using ICTs in evaluation data collection, analysis and dissemination of results, highlighting their current and potential use. He also reflected upon the limitations and risks of the use of ICTs in evaluation, including methodological and ethical considerations.
Ms Johanna Pennarz, Lead Evaluation Officer, IOE, chaired the session on no one left behind – how evaluation can contribute to an inclusive rural transformation. The session had a dual purpose: to introduce evaluation syntheses as a product to inform decision-making; and to present key findings from selected evaluation studies under the theme “no one left behind”. Ms Pennarz made the introductory presentation on main policy lessons learned from three evaluation synthesis studies on gender, ethnic minorities and pastoralists, prepared by IOE. Adrian Marbaniang from the North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project in India, and Jerry Pacturan from IFAD-Philippines presented case studies from IFAD country programme evalautions.
In the session on joint evaluation - Building Partnerships through Joint Evaluation: ADB and IFAD Experience, Ms Pennarz also joint a panel with on the joint evaluation of the Northern Region Livestock Development Project evaluation in Lao. The panel included representatives from the Government of Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Independent Evaluation Department of the Asian Development Bank. The session highlighted the role of joint evaluations within a broader partnership approach. It discussed the methodological challenges of the joint evaluations process and the opportunities it provided for capacity building and knowledge sharing. The Government of Lao much appreciated the joint nature of this evaluation.