Client Perspective of Evaluation

September 6, 2006 at 2:17 pm Leave a comment

The Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP), has recently published the results (pdf) of a survey of evaluation managers from humanitarian organisations.

ALNAP had responses from 46 evaluation managers that commission and manage evaluation projects for humanitarian organisations. This provides an interesting insight into the “client” perspective of evaluation, some highlights:

What helps promote an evaluation?
ownership or “buy in” of an evaluation was the most often stated promoting factor. Quality of the evaluation report and recommendations was also important.

What inhibits the use of an evaluation?
The most frequently mentioned factor was the imposing of and evaluation by HQ and/or donor. The arrogant, fault-finding or ivory tower approach of evaluators and insufficient time for the evaluation leading to superficial results were also important factors.

What other factors induce changes in an organisation?
A very interesting question – what factors do they believe impact on change – apart from evaluation. Respondents mentioned two important influences: the media and donors. And to a lesser extent, the influence of peers (exchange/discussions between agencies)

Why do organisations evaluate?
Formal accountability (obligation to donors, trustees, etc.)
Improving the programme
Learning for the organisation
Legitimising (to add credence or challenge existing agenda)

how to increase use of evaluation?
Most respondents mentioned changing the atttitude of senior manager and the culture of learning within their organisations. Respondents spoke of a culture of defensiveness rather than of learning and reflection.

Some very interesting results. It also confirms what I have seen in the humanitarian field: communications professionals are slowly coming around to recognise that evaluation is necessary and important – but this is being prompted by pressure from donors and the monitoring and evaluation units that are sprouting up in their organisations.


Entry filed under: Evaluation reporting, General, PR evaluation, Research & Studies.

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