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Harnessing the Power of Evaluation in Humanitarian Action: An initiative to improve understanding and use of evaluation

Harnessing the Power of Evaluation in Humanitarian Action: An initiative to improve understanding and use of evaluation

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Published by ALNAPEval
This ALNAP Working Paper builds on the experiences and successes of ALNAP Members in integrating evaluative evidence into programme design and makes suggestions as to how organisations can build their ability to use evaluations. It is part of a concerted attempt on the part of ALNAP Members to build their capacity to learn from evaluations.
This ALNAP Working Paper builds on the experiences and successes of ALNAP Members in integrating evaluative evidence into programme design and makes suggestions as to how organisations can build their ability to use evaluations. It is part of a concerted attempt on the part of ALNAP Members to build their capacity to learn from evaluations.

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Published by: ALNAPEval on May 22, 2012
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ALNAPWorking Paper
Harnessing the Power of Evaluation in Humanitarian Action:
An initiative to improve understanding and use of evaluation
Alistair Hallam
 
 June 2011
 
1. Inroducion 3
Background 3Limiaions 4Ouline o his paper 4A ramework o improve undersanding and use o EHA 4Acknowledgemens 6 
1. Leadership, culure and srucure
7
 
Ensure leadership is supporive o evaluaion and monioring 7
 
Promoe an evaluaion culure 7
 
Increase he inernal demand or evaluaion inormaion 8
 
Creae organisaional srucures ha promoe evaluaion 9
2. Evaluaion purpose and policy 
10
 
Clariy he purpose o evaluaion (accounabiliy, audi, learning) 10
 
Clearly ariculae evaluaion policy 11
 
Ensure evaluaion processes are imely and orm aninegral par o he decision-making cycle 12
 
Emphasise qualiy no quaniy 12
3. Evaluaion processes and sysems
14
 
Develop a sraegic approach o selecing wha should be evaluaed 14
 
Involve key sakeholders hroughou he process 14
 
Use boh inernal and exernal personnel o encourage a culure o evaluaion 16
 
Improve he echnical qualiy o he evaluaion process 16
 
 Assign high prioriy o eecive disseminaion o ndings, includinghrough new media (video, web) 17
 
Ensure here is a managemen response o evaluaions 18
 
Carry ou periodic mea-evaluaions and evaluaion synheses,and review recommendaions 19
4. Supporing processes and mechanisms
20
 
Improve monioring hroughou he programme cycle 20
 
Provide he necessary human resources and incenive srucures 20
 
Secure adequae nancial resources 21
 
Undersand and ake advanage o he exernal environmen 22
 Nex seps
24
Reerences
24 
ABLE OF CONENS
2
 
Background
 ALNAP has done more work on evaluaions o humaniarian acion (EHAs) during he pas ew  years han a any oher ime in is hisory. Tis has included research on evaluaion uilisaion, joinevaluaions, a pilo guide on real-ime evaluaions, a meeing and sudy on impac assessmens, anew look Evaluaion epors Daabase, and he new Sae o he Humaniarian Sysem repor, whichincluded an exensive evaluaion synhesis.However, despie hese eors, and some real improvemens wihin agencies in how hey carry ou evaluaions, here remains a eeling among many in he secor ha he ull poenial beneo humaniarian evaluaions is no being realised. oo oen, humaniarian evaluaions exis asa disconneced process, raher han becoming embedded as par o he culure and mindse o humaniarian organisaions. Te secor has made real advances in he qualiy o evaluaions; i wouldseem ha he challenge now is o ensure ha evaluaions are acually used o improve operaionalperormance. ALNAP is no alone in coming o such conclusions. Te UN Evaluaion Group (UNEG)
1
and he wider OECD-DAC group
2
have been carrying ou imporan work on improving approaches oevaluaion or some years across he UN sysem, and also carrying ou peer-reviews o members’evaluaion sysems and srucures. Following a UNEG peer-review, he Oce o Evaluaion o he World Food Programme (WFP) commissioned work o enhance he learning purpose o he organisaion’s evaluaions (WFP 2009). Similarly, he UK’s Deparmen or InernaionalDevelopmen (DFID) has recenly commissioned a sudy rom he Overseas Developmen Insiueon how o improve is learning rom boh evaluaion and research (Jones and Mendizabal 2010).UNICEF has carried ou similar work (Soddard 2005).Tere have been similar debaes on evaluaion eeciveness wihin he developmen communiy or decades. Ta he humaniarian communiy is coming o hese issues relaively lae may refeche simple ac ha i also came laer o evaluaion isel. However, here is perhaps also somehingdieren abou humaniarian aid in he scale and iner-connecedness o is ambiion, and hesubsequenly greaer diculies o undersanding and atribuing impac. Agains his background, ALNAP has commissioned a process o acion research, o which his paperis a par, ocusing on srenghening insiuional undersanding as well as capaciies and processes inorder o beter harness he power o EHA. Te iniial research used lieraure review and inerviewsacross he ALNAP member organisaions and idenied areas or urher examinaion. A cenralemerging lesson is ha improving humaniarian evaluaion capaciies and processes is a complex underaking ha involves a wide range o acors and acors – including allocaion o resources;
1. INODUCION
3

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