New US policy on evaluation

January 28, 2011 at 4:19 pm 2 comments

USAID, the US government body responsible for foreign aid programs has issued a new policy on evaluation.  According to the USAID itself,  the new policy “seeks to redress the decline in the quantity and quality of USAID’s recent evaluation practice”. They highlight six key points of this policy:

1.       Defining impact evaluation and performance evaluation and requiring at least one performance evaluation for each major program and any untested and innovative interventions, and encouraging impact evaluation for each major development objective in a country program, especially for new or untested approaches and interventions:

2.       Calling for evaluation to be integrated into programs when they are designed;

3.       Requiring sufficient resources be dedicated to evaluation, estimated at approximately three percent of total program dollars;

4.       Requiring that evaluations use methods, whether qualitative or quantitative, that generate the highest quality evidence linked to the evaluation questions and that can reasonably be expected to be reproducible, yielding similar findings if applied by a different team of qualified evaluators;

5.       Building local capacity by including local evaluators on evaluation teams and supporting partner government and civil society capacity to undertake evaluations; and

6.       Insisting on transparency of findings with the presumption of full and active disclosure barring principled and rare exceptions.

view the new policy here (pdf)>>

Entry filed under: Development evaluation, Evaluation methodology. Tags: .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jeremy  |  January 31, 2011 at 3:48 am

    So, #4 doesn’t limit the methodology, but limits the epistemology. I mean, declaring that the results should be “reproducible,” assumes that there is a singular reality (positivism), right? Wouldn’t that exclude House’s evaluation-as-activism and other approaches related to critical theory?

    Reply
  • 2. Glenn  |  January 31, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Good point Jeremy. In my opinion, every evaluation commissioning body is working knowingly or not within a certain frame of what is evaluation. Most tend to fall into either the Positivist or Interpretivist camps. Reading the US policy they seem to be more in the former than the latter. That may put less priority on seeing evaluation as activism but I believe USAID still put emphasis on seeing an impact of the evaluations undertaken.

    Reply

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