RE: Challenges of evaluation | Eval Forward

Hello everyone,

Many thanks to our dear Hynda for opening a very interesting debate on the challenges and constraints that hinder the emancipation of evaluation in some countries. All that has been said is quite valid, nevertheless the lack of understanding of the evaluation function, as evoked by Hynda, very often perceived as a control and forcing many individuals to positions of resistance for different reasons, remains one of the challenges that must be addressed. From my modest experience in the various results-based management training workshops that I lead, in their monitoring and evaluation component, I always start by demystifying the monitoring and evaluation functions among participants by asking a simple question: do we do monitoring and evaluation in our daily life? And I engage in a frank and serene debate with the participants by taking them to evoke examples of the everyday life where the human being practices the monitoring-evaluation in a rather intuitive and fortuitous way. The example of a trip by car to a destination where we have never been to arrive at a specific date and time, according to a precise route that we have never taken, is the example that comes up quite often. And here we begin to dissect our actions to finally discover that we do quite often monitoring-evaluation, sometimes without realizing it, and concluding that eventually the monitoring-evaluation is rather in our favor than to our disadvantage.

However, there are other challenges for the evaluation function that I can personally advance, by way of illustration and without being exhaustive, and that are better housed in the immediate environment of the evaluation function, including:

  • Self-censorship practiced by some evaluators in some political systems in order to remain "politically correct", sometimes pushing things to the point where politicians and other officials hear what they like to hear;
  • The interference of some politicians and other officials and the pressure on the evaluators to change certain conclusions in the evaluation report, or even disguise the reality highlighted by the evaluation exercise;
  • The scarcity - or absence - of reliable official statistics and quality sectoral studies to triangulate the "findings" of an evaluation;
  • The remoteness of some evaluators from the objectivity and neutrality required in the evaluation function to remain always in the "politically correct" while thinking about future contracts;
  • The proliferation of many academics whose aim has been to develop socioeconomic studies for decades (such as baseline studies, diagnoses, etc.) and who claim to be evaluators without understanding the foundations and principles of the evaluation function and without prior updating and necessary knowledge of the evaluation ...

This is what I wanted to share with colleagues as a contribution to this debate ...