2015 has been designated as the year of evaluation. It is intended to be an opportunity to advocate and promote evaluation and evidence-based policy making at international, regional, national and local levels. This global conversation about the role of evaluations wants to increased the amount of policy that is informed by evidence collected from activities at every level.
While it is true that good evaluation can “enable leaders and civil society to develop and support better policies, implement them more effectively, safeguard the lives of people, and promote well-being for all”. It is also important that evaluations are fir for purpose and evaluators are allowed to be fully impartial and independent. In his book Aid on the Edge of Chaos, Ben Ramlingham makes the excellent point that evaluators and other evidence gatherers often provide data and evidence that supports the mainstream narrative of the role of development aid in the world, rather than data and evidence that might support different solutions to challenges faced on the ground.
I think it is important that monitoring and evaluation is given a higher profile. It is also important that evaluation is better utilised in a policy environment. But only if the actual results are accepted and utilised. Otherwise evaluation becomes yet another tool for supporting the status quo or justifying acceptable change over necessary change.
Are you participating in any events and activities about the year of evaluation in 2015? Let me know what you think of evaluation in the policy context?