In rural and agricultural development, projects are the main instrument for piloting and/or implementing policies and programmes. When evaluating projects, we identify issues that affect their effectiveness and note that these often originate from flaws at design and/or implementation stages.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of “good practices” to avoid such flaws that emerge from my experience.
At design stage, projects should:
- Be subject to quality assurance processes that externally assess whether the theory of change of the project is robust enough for achieving its intended goals.
- Require information on lessons learnt from previous interventions in the domain/country in which the project will intervene. If a project proposes to implement an approach that has failed elsewhere, this should be justified and assessed during the quality review phase.
- Contain convincing narratives and SMART indicators for the impacts, outcomes and outputs of the intervention, which should be accompanied by a budgeted M&E plan.
At implementation stage, projects should:
- Systematically monitor achievement of indicators and targets.
- Carry out targeted research in order to identify what is working/not working (especially the latter), based on information generated by the monitoring system.
- Hold steering committee meetings (or after action reviews), where managers and stakeholders present/analyze good practices and lessons learnt to avoid/solve bottlenecks.
Which good practices would you recommend to governments, donors, international organizations and NGOs to improve their project effectiveness?
Look forward to hearing from you!
Office of Evaluation, FAO