This CDI Practice Paper is based on an analysis of international NGO (INGO) evaluation practice in empowerment and accountability (E&A) programmes commissioned by CARE UK, Christian Aid, Plan UK and World Vision UK. It reviews evaluation debates and their implications for INGOs.
The authors argue that if INGOs are to successfully ‘measure’ or assess outcomes and impacts of E&A programmes, they need to shift attention from methods to developing more holistic and complexity informed evaluation strategies during programme design. Final evaluations or impact assessments are no longer discrete activities, but part of longer-term learning processes.
Given the weak evaluation capacity within the international development sector, this CDI Practice Paper concludes that institutional donors must have realistic expectations and support INGOs to develop their evaluation capacity in keeping with cost – benefit considerations. Donors might also need to reconsider the merits of trying to evaluate the ‘impact’ of ‘demand-side’ NGO governance programmes independently of potentially complementary ‘supply-side’ governance initiatives.
The CDI Practice Paper series is published by the Centre for Development Impact (CDI), a joint initiative between IDS and ITAD.