Monitoring and evaluation
Any organization seeking to benefit people must continually monitor and evaluate its efforts. Unless responsible people on the ground have accurate, detailed knowledge of what has been tried before, what has worked and what has not, their efforts are likely to be ineffective or to repeat past mistakes.
UNICEF has always stressed the importance of monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and assessed its performance through significant meta-evaluation efforts in 1994 and 2004. These revealed that having full-time, trained staff dedicated to M&E in each country office was the most significant factor affecting the quality and usefulness of an evaluation. Accordingly, all country offices in South Asia are instituting M&E posts at the required levels and recruiting staff with the necessary competencies.
As a regional office ROSA seeks to strengthen the M&E efforts of Country Offices by providing technical support, acting as a clearinghouse of information on best (or ineffective) practices, and so on. Generally, ROSA’s approach is to:
UNICEF in Action
Monitoring has been strengthened by the comparable databases on children and women being maintained in India, Nepal and Maldives. These provide a wealth of information on health, education, protection, knowledge of HIV/AIDS, etc. The governments of all eight South Asian countries now use the UN’s DevInfo software to monitor progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Rapid assessment tools to be used in emergencies have been piloted and are available for use, as is the EmergencyInfo database.
UNICEF’s Medium Term Strategic Plan (MTSP) focuses on six areas related to evaluation: greater management attention, building national capacity and promoting leadership, promoting the evaluation function within the UN system, developing evaluation mechanisms that can be used in humanitarian crises, conducting evaluations, and developing organizational capacity in evaluation.
Senior management in all Country Offices have access to recommendations and lessons learned from at least two major evaluations of programmes in their countries. The regional management team has similar access to thematic and multi-country evaluations conducted or coordinated by ROSA. ROSA analyzes all such evaluations and informs Country Offices of areas for improvement.
Each Country Office has an M&E focal person to ensure that high quality strategic evaluations are planned, implemented and utilized. Because a single evaluator may not possess all the competencies required in a major evaluation, a panel of accredited evaluators will be established to undertake evaluations and review major evaluation terms of reference, methodologies and draft reports.
ROSA will establish a professional evaluation course in at least one of the region’s academic institutions to improve the availability of professional evaluators and to enhance access to evaluation resources. This regional centre of excellence in evaluation will be formed in partnership with a regional technical or academic institute, other regional UN agencies, and national bodies. It will promote dissemination of lessons learned from UN development efforts and catalyze management response to those lessons.
Country Offices will be supported as needed and feasible to set up and strengthen national evaluation associations to establish evaluation standards, promote evaluations of development efforts and strengthen national evaluation capacity.
Evaluation South Asia