By: Ruth Levine, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning
In a major address today, Dr. Shah will announce USAID’s new evaluation policy, evidence of the renewed emphasis the Agency is placing on evaluation, measuring and documenting program achievements and shortcomings, and generating data on what works to drive decision-making.
The policy marks a significant change from current practice, yet builds on the Agency’s long and innovative history with evaluation. It seeks to redress the decline in the quantity and quality of USAID’s recent evaluation practice.
And it is my pleasure to offer you a sneak peek. Key points include:
1. Defining impact evaluation and performance evaluation and requiring at least one performance evaluation for each major program and any untested and innovative interventions, and encouraging impact evaluation for each major development objective in a country program, especially for new or untested approaches and interventions:
2. Calling for evaluation to be integrated into programs when they are designed;
3. Requiring sufficient resources be dedicated to evaluation, estimated at approximately three percent of total program dollars;
4. Requiring that evaluations use methods, whether qualitative or quantitative, that generate the highest quality evidence linked to the evaluation questions and that can reasonably be expected to be reproducible, yielding similar findings if applied by a different team of qualified evaluators;
5. Building local capacity by including local evaluators on evaluation teams and supporting partner government and civil society capacity to undertake evaluations; and
6. Insisting on transparency of findings with the presumption of full and active disclosure barring principled and rare exceptions.
This policy – which you will find here – sets a new standard for evaluation practice. Thank you to those who informed its development. Watch this space for updates on how the Agency implements its renewed commitment to evaluation.