Note: This is a part of a comprehensive step-by-step approach for creating a Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) program. Check out the main topic page, CBDRR Practitioners Guidelines, to learn more about the full guidelines.
Evaluations can help tell us many things about our programme and projects, such as why our projects or programme achieved (or did not achieve) their intended results, if we were efficient, relevant, if things might be sustained etc. There are many types of evaluation (summative, formative, impact-oriented, beneficiary focused etc.) and they may occur at a variety of points in time (mid-term, final, quarterly programme review etc.).
Evaluations contribute to beneficiary and donor accountability and, if managed well, can contribute to programmatic and organizational change. As with other steps in this guide, the evaluation may be for a community project or it may be for the entire CBDRR programme strategy.
Evaluations can be led by internal or external stakeholders depending on their intended use and the level of independence required. Ideally, they will be conducted by someone outside the project or programme to ensure objectivity. Evaluations often focus on efficiency, effectiveness, impact, relevance and sustainability.
What do I need to know?
Why is this important?
Evaluations contribute to organizational learning and knowledge sharing by reflecting upon experiences and lessons learnt so that we can gain the full benefit from what we do and how we do it. Evaluations help us uphold accountability and compliance requirements by demonstrating whether or not our work has been carried out as agreed and if it is in-line with established standards e.g. the Red Cross and Red Crescent Fundamental Principles and Code of Conduct and with any other donor requirements.
Evaluations provide opportunities for stakeholder feedback and demonstrate our willingness to learn from experiences and to adapt to changing needs. They can also help us promote and celebrate our work by highlighting our accomplishments and achievements, building morale and contributing to longer term resource mobilisation.
What are key questions to answer when planning an evaluation?
- Is the evaluation for a community project or for the overall programme strategy?
- What are the NSs requirements for evaluation? Are there any donor requirements specifying how and when the evaluation will be carried out?
- How will the results of an evaluation be used?
- How well has the project been accumulating information for an evaluation during the project? Where is this information kept?
- Are the baseline and endline data available?
- How will evaluation findings and recommendations be shared with all stakeholders – community, National Society, government partners, etc.?
- How will the National Society use these findings to support programmatic and organizational learning?
What are the basic steps in planning an evaluation?
- Check the budget. How much money is available for the evaluation?
- Determine if there are any organizational standards or donor requirements that must be met.
- Determine if it is for a community project, CBDRR programme strategy or both.
- Review the M&E plan and see what indicators and key questions have already been determined; these may need to be updated. With the community, the NS and other stakeholders, develop key questions the evaluation should answer.
- Develop a plan (key activities, timeline, budget, roles & responsibilities) for the data collection, analysis and dissemination.
- If the evaluation is to be carried out by an external person, such as a consultant, summarize the plan in a terms of reference and recruit needed personnel.
- Discuss the terms of reference (ToR) with all key stakeholders to ensure that the evaluation will answer their key questions or concerns.
- If it is a community-led project evaluation, support the community to revisit the measures of success and key questions developed during the project design stage. Help them update key evaluation questions as needed. Support the community to identify some simple methods to help answer their key questions. The VCA tool used earlier may be helpful here. Community project level questions can be incorporated into the overall programme strategy final evaluation design.
- Ensure a clear dissemination plan is developed and is part of the ToR.
- When the evaluation is finalized, support NS management and the community to develop a ‘management response plan’. This identifies who will address the recommendations, how and when. This should be updated on a regular basis until all recommendations are addressed.
What are some success factors or key determinants?
- The motivation and interest of stakeholders to learn.
- Sufficient time to complete an evaluation within the project or programme timeline.
- National Society needs to have some capacity in monitoring, reporting and evaluation. It also needs a system in place to share results and recommendations, including a formal process for management response and commitment to resolving issues raised.
- Evaluations require resources and should be included in the budget. A good guideline is 5% of total budget costs should be set aside for M&E (baseline, monitoring, endline and final evaluation).
- Evaluations must be transparent, considering both the strengths and weaknesses of the projects and programme. National Societies should use evaluations to increase their organizational learning and accountability with all stakeholders.
What are some useful tools and methodologies?
Note: Some donors have specific evaluation requirements – these should be clearly reviewed and incorporated into the design of the project. The following list contains resource materials that can be used for general guidance:
- IFRC Monitoring and Evaluation resource page which outlines project/programme planning learning tools, online courses and guidance documents.
- IFRC Framework for Evaluations. Arabic - English - French - Spanish
- IFRC PMER Manual, 2011.
- IFRC DRR performance framework
- UNISDR Hyogo Framework for Action
- IFRC Key Determinants of a Successful CBDRR Program
- OECD DAC Evaluation Resource Center
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