IOE continues implementing good evaluation and data collection practices during the COVID-19 outbreak

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Throughout the world, the Covid-19 pandemic is raising challenges of unprecedented magnitude and scope. Economies face severe disruptions, and individuals and businesses are ill equipped to cope with the turbulence that invariably ensues. Serious uncertainties are expected to persist for the foreseeable future, as the virus spreads to unaffected areas and countries face the pressures associated with recovery. This is all the more true in the developing world, where the turmoil caused by the disease risks undoing the development progress made over the decades, including towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

As IFAD redoubles its efforts in support of smallholder farmers and rural communities, we at the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) remain firmly committed to our mission to promote accountability and learning through independent, credible and useful evaluations of IFAD’s work, which we deem are critical to ensuring the effectiveness of IFAD’s operations to the benefit of the rural poor.

In particular, for us at IOE, the restrictions on personal movement ordered globally to fight virus spread have required rethinking of some of our methods, as the travel crucial to development and evaluation work cannot be undertaken. For example, project performance evaluations (PPEs) are affected, given that they are indispensably based on additional information and data collected during missions.

In response to these extraordinary circumstances, we have been exploring ways to fully leverage the content of existing documentation and the power of new technologies, to resume travel, field visits and shorter missions only when safety conditions allow. These alternative options are detailed in the table below; their respective strengths and weaknesses of each are illustrated, to facilitate tailoring the approach taken to a range of different situations.

We are also examining solutions for our country strategy and programme evaluations (CSPEs), and will be sharing them here shortly.