With more than 125 participants, the Evaluation Department hosted a successful public event on Danida evaluations in Eigtveds Pakhus on 11th May.
Introduced to the day by State Secretary for Development Policy Martin Bille Hermann, the participants joined actively in the discussions on evaluation policy and approaches to development evaluation. In a key note address, Dr. Elliot Stern provided insights into some of the tendencies in development evaluation, including addressing the issue of increasing complexity and unpredictability in development interventions, notably in fragile situations. Dr. Stern, who was leading a peer review of the Danida Evaluation function late 2014, furthermore referred to the findings of this review explaining why an Evaluation Policy was needed to encourage a discussion with partners and within the Ministry of the priority roles of this unit.
In her presentation of the draft Evaluation Policy, Sus Ulbæk, Head of the Evaluation Department, emphasized the role of the Evaluation Department in enhancing the evaluability of interventions, thereby paving the way for providing a better basis for future evaluations. The management decision to use Theories of Change as a tool for programming, monitoring and evaluation held the potential for progress on results and learning as did the introduction of real-time evaluations. Real time evaluations will be piloted with country programmes in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Myanmar, and they will provide an opportunity for assessing selected outcomes and assumptions during the course of implementation. In the following debate, participants raised issues relevant to the policy, including the independence of evaluation team leaders and the role of evaluation reference groups, and how the Ministry is held accountable to evaluations. Sus Ulbæk pointed to the new Evaluation Meetings, which is a forum headed by the State Secretary, with the participation of the Evaluation Department and heads of departments from a number of offices in the ministry, regularly discussing follow-up to evaluations and the evaluation agenda. Sus Ulbæk also explained the role of the Evaluation Department in safeguarding the independence of the evaluation team.
Ole Winckler Andersen, Deputy at the Danish OECD Delegation and former Head of the Evaluation Department, subsequently introduced a debate on how well the existing evaluation processes are fit for the increasing variety of evaluations. Ole Winckler Andersen pointed to the fact that very little evidence exists regarding how the evaluation process influences the evaluation product, and especially in evaluations with increasing complexity, he found there might be a need to review the model of outsourcing evaluation work.
During the afternoon, participants engaged in discussions in five parallel mini-seminars on recent and current evaluations on the Danida Business-to-Business Programme, the Strategy for Danish Humanitarian Action, the Danish Climate Change Funding, the Danish Support to Civil Society and Support to Capacity Development. The team-leaders of these evaluations each presented their work followed by questions and debate.