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Abstract

Evaluation is an important part of the project cycle, but it is not confined to projects: any aid-funded activity can be evaluated. ODA spends about £1/2 million per annum on evaluation (including in-house staff costs). The policy on evaluation is controlled by the Projects and Evaluation Committee which receives the reports. As the same Committee approves all major new projects there is instant feedback. It is vital that senior management learn recent lessons from experience to supplement their own personal experience which may be out of date. Evaluations need to be done as soon as useful lessons are to be learned—if left too late the findings are likely to have been overtaken by recent changes in ODA procedures. Using outside evaluators brings a welcome element of impartiality. But a balance of in-house and out-of-house evaluators yields the best results. Evaluation reports need to be presented in a systematic way (as appraisals are), and they should be made widely available. Two lessons stand out: the need for in-depth appraisal and careful monitoring and the importance of good management for successful projects.