The experience of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD in conducting evaluations during Covid-19. Learning note
The travel, health and social restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic had severe adverse effects on IOE’s work, preventing it from conducting international missions and field data collection, signature elements of its evaluation approach.
IOE nevertheless made every effort to continue operations. This entailed adapting its approach to evaluations, establishing a set of key principles to protect the health and well-being of evaluation staff and stakeholders. IOE also strove to address the many vital issues ensuing from its new approach, which ranged from the need to maintain methodological rigour and reduce the chance of bias to preserving smooth working relationships with both internal and external parties.
This learning note analyses the main challenges faced and lessons learned by IOE as it endeavoured to assure evaluation quality and sustained delivery under COVID conditions. It is hoped that the knowledge thus shared will prove valuable to evaluation actors, both during the current pandemic situation and beyond.
Helping transform rural lives: Major achievements of IFAD’s Independent Office of Evaluation 2014-2019
In 2014-2019, amidst the pressures of climate change and the need to achieve Agenda 2030’s pledge to “leave no one behind”, IFAD continued extensive structural and operational reforms, all the while remaining firmly committed to improving the lives of the rural poor.
In this dynamic context, the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) played a more critical role than ever, carrying out its mission to promote accountability and learning by providing independent evaluations of IFAD’s work.
Helping Transform Rural Lives: Major Achievements of IFAD’s Independent Office of Evaluation 2014-2019 explains IOE’s operations and highlights its main accomplishments and innovations of the past five years, as it strove towards excellence in evaluation in the service of advancing rural development.
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IFAD’s independent evaluation ratings database
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) is making publicly available all the ratings on the performance of IFAD-supported operations evaluated since 2002. As such, IOE joins the few development organizations that currently make such data available to the public at large. The broader aim of disclosing such evaluation data is to further strengthen organizational accountability and transparency (in line with IFAD’s Disclosure and Evaluation Policies), as well as enable others interested (including researches and academics) to conduct their own analysis based on IOE data.
All evaluation ratings may be seen in the Excel database. At the moment, the database contains ratings of 315 projects evaluated by IOE. These ratings also provide the foundation for preparing IOE’s flagship report, the Annual Report on Results and Impact of IFAD operations (ARRI).
As in the past, IOE will continue to update the database annually by including ratings from new independent evaluations conducted each year based on the methodology captured in the IFAD Evaluation Manual. It might be useful to underline that IOE uses a six-point rating scale (where 6 is the highest score and 1 the lowest) to assess the performance of IFAD-funded operations across a series of internationally recognised evaluation criteria (e.g., relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, rural poverty impact, sustainability, gender, and others).
Moreover, in 2006, IOE’s project evaluation ratings criteria were harmonized with those of IFAD’s operations, to ensure greater consistency between independent and self-evaluation data (Agreement between PMD and IOE on the Harmonization of Self-Evaluation and Independent Evaluation Systems of IFAD). The Harmonization agreement was further enhanced in 2011, following the Peer Review of IFAD’s Office of Evaluation and Evaluation Function. The aforementioned agreements also allow to determine any ‘disconnect’ in the reporting of project performance respectively by IOE and IFAD management.