Stories from Aidland: Dancing to the Tune

(From The Broker)

Dancing to the tune, by Nancy Okail, July 2010

This story chronicles my involvement in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) monitoring survey on aid effectiveness in a North African country in 2006. The OECD monitoring survey was a tool designed to assess how aid was spent in this recipient country and measure progress in relation to the five dimensions of the Paris Declaration: ownership, alignment, harmonization, results and mutual accountability. I was a participant observer at one of the offices in the country’s Ministry of International Cooperation entrusted to conduct the survey.

Using impact evaluation to improve development

Date: 04 May 2010 17:30-19:00 GMT+1 (BST)
Venue: Overseas Development Institute, London (directions)

Ariel Fiszbein – Chief Economist, Human Development Network, World Bank
Professor Costas Meghir – Co-Director, ESRC Research Centre, Institute of Fiscal Studies
Alison Evans – Director, ODI

How do you improve development effectiveness through the better use of evidence? Impact evaluation can build the solid evidence base on what works in development and, in turn, improve development policy. Ariel Fiszbein, Chief Economist in the World Bank’s Human Development Network will discuss how the Bank uses impact evaluation to inform policies on health, education and social protection. His presentation will be followed by a comment from Professor Costas Meghir, Co-Director, ESRC Research Centre.

Register a place | Register to watch online

New DFID policy on Evaluation

“DFID takes very seriously the responsibility to ensure high quality, independent evaluation of its programmes, to provide reliable and robust evidence to improve the value of its global work to reduce poverty.

In December 2007 the Independent Advisory Committee on Development Impact was established to help DFID strengthen its evaluation processes. The Committee is there to work with DFID to:

  • Determine which programmes and areas of UK development assistance will be evaluated and when;
  • Identify any gaps in the planned programme of evaluations and make proposals for new areas or other priorities as required;
  • Determine whether relevant standards (e.g. of the OECD Development Assistance Committee) are being applied; and comment on the overall quality of the programme of evaluation work carried out against these.

DFID and IACDI have therefore been working closely together to define a new policy which will set the course for evaluation in the future. We have also produced a ‘topic list’ of potential areas for evaluation over the coming 3 years. So you will see here two documents on which we would like your feedback, the Draft Evaluation Policy and the Evaluation Topic List.

Central to the policy is the emphasis on greater independence of evaluation, along with stronger partnership working, reflecting global commitments to harmonisation, decentralising evaluation to a greater degree, driving up quality, and ensuring that learning from evaluation contributes to future decision making. We would like you to consider those high level issues when offering your comment and feedback during the time the consultation process is open. This document does not focus on the operational issues; they will be considered in a separate DFID strategy document.

During the consultation period, we would also like to hear your views on which topics you consider to be the greatest priority and why. This will help DFID to make decisions on which are to be given the highest priority.

In summary the issues we are particularly keen for you to focus your feedback on are:

1. The definition of ‘independent evaluation’ – what are your thoughts on the policy approach of DFID, working increasingly with partners, to increase independence in evaluation?

2. What are your views on what’s required to drive up quality across the board in evaluation of international development programmes? What role do you think DFID can most valuably play in this?

3. What are the considerations for DFID strengthening its own evaluation processes, whilst ensuring its commitments to harmonisation remain steadfast?

4. DFID is determined to increase the value of learning from evaluation to inform policy – what are your thoughts on the means to bring this about?

5. DFID is committed to consulting stakeholders during our evaluations, including poor women and men affected by our programmes.   Getting representative stakeholders, especially for evaluations which go beyond specific projects and programmes, can often be challenging (for example evaluations of country assistance plans or thematic evaluations).  Do you have any ideas on how to improve this?

6. DFID is committed to developing evaluation capacity in partner countries and increasing our use of national systems. What are your thoughts on the challenges and ways forward?

Please send your feedback to . The public consultation will officially close on Tuesday 3rd March but we would appreciate comments as early as possible, so that they can be considered as the operational issues are further thought out.”

Consultation Draft: “Better information: better aid” Accra, August 2008 

Produced by aidinfo. aidinfo is an initiative to contribute to faster poverty reduction by making aid more

This is a draft for consultation that summarises the evidence we have gathered so far. We welcome suggestions, additions, comments and corrections.
Continue reading “Consultation Draft: “Better information: better aid” Accra, August 2008 “

Evaluation of the Implementation of the Paris Declaration

Thematic study: The applicability of the Paris Declaration in fragile and conflict-affected situations

Executive Summary

The September 2008 DAC HLF in Accra provides an opportunity to discuss the challenges of applying the Paris Declaration in fragile and conflict-affected situations. This report aims to provide evidence to inform these discussions by:
• Synthesising existing evidence on the aid effectiveness and state-building challenges faced in fragile and conflict-affected situations;
• Exploring the relevance and application of the Paris Declaration and the Fragile States principles in different contexts of fragility and conflict; and
• Setting out the key challenges to improving effective engagement by development partners in fragile situations.

This paper is based on a review of the primary and secondary literature. As part of the review,
four country case studies (Afghanistan, Burundi, the DRC and Nepal) were carried out. These are
included as annexes to the report.
Continue reading “Evaluation of the Implementation of the Paris Declaration”

PERSPECTIVES ON IMPACT EVALUATION: Approaches to Assessing Development Effectiveness

An International Conference in Africa for policy-makers, program managers, evaluators, sponsors and other stakeholders in evaluation and development

Date: Sunday 29 March – Thursday 2 April 2009
Venue: Semiramis InterContinental Hotel, Cairo, Egypt


How do we know when ‘development’ is truly successful? What can evaluations tell us about which policies, programs and projects work, why, for whom and under what conditions? How can such evaluations best be conducted to help to bring new hope and opportunities to many millions in Africa and beyond?

It gives us great pleasure to invite you to participate in one of the most exciting evaluation events ever held in Africa. The African Evaluation Association (AfrEA), the Network of Networks on Impact Evaluation (NONIE) and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) have joined forces to bring to Africa some of the best expertise from all continents on one of the most discussed topics among evaluation and development communities worldwide.

For the conference we define impact evaluations as those studies which concern themselves with determining and understanding the short, medium and long term outcomes or impacts of projects, programs and policies. We do not limit the term to any specific methodology in any particular discipline.
Continue reading “PERSPECTIVES ON IMPACT EVALUATION: Approaches to Assessing Development Effectiveness”

AusAID first: Annual Review of Development Effectiveness 2007

The inaugural Annual Review of Development Effectiveness, produced by the Office of Development Effectiveness, was tabled in Parliament on 20 March 2008.

The review is a key element in efforts to strengthen the effectiveness of the aid program as the aid budget is scaled up to reach 0.5% of Gross National Income by 2015. The review provides an annual health check of the program and identifies areas where effectiveness could be strengthened.

The review found that Australia manages its aid activities well and is achieving good results. More than three quarters of activities will meet their objectives in 2006-07, these objectives range from better budgeting to stronger service delivery. Continue reading “AusAID first: Annual Review of Development Effectiveness 2007”

[Video conference] From Rhetoric to Action: E-Government and Aid Effectiveness

A videoconferenced workshop between Washington DC, Berlin and Paris
Date: 17th September 2008

Program Description

Increasing the impact of development aid is the core objective of the Paris Declaration, a document endorsed by more than 100 developing and donor countries and multilateral agencies in 2005. The 2008 “Evaluation of the implementation of the Paris Declaration” calls for faster progress from rhetoric to action by both partner governments and donors. In this context, this workshop organized jointly by GTZ and GICT/e-Development Thematic Group explores the connection between e-Government and aid effectiveness. The workshop will try to address two questions using inputs of practitioners from partner country governments and development organisations:

  • How can e-Government contribute to aid effectiveness?
  • How does the concern for aid effectiveness inform the way we invest in e-government?

Continue reading “[Video conference] From Rhetoric to Action: E-Government and Aid Effectiveness”

Working Together to Make Aid More Effective

House of Commons International Development Committee
Ninth Report of Session 2007–08 Volume I
Report, together with formal minutes. Printed 8 July 2008

The International Development Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration, and policy of the Department for International Development and its associated public bodies.

If the millions of people still living on less than $1 a day are to be lifted out of poverty donors need to provide more effective aid not simply larger quantities of aid. The UK has performed well against almost all of the targets in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the central agreement in this area, but global progress has been patchy and slow. The Accra High Level Forum in September is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on this lack of progress. The UK’s Department for International Development should aim to make progress there in two key areas: the division of labour among donors; and developing country ownership of the development process.

The principle of ownership-that the development process should be led by developing countries themselves-is critical to the success of international commitments on aid effectiveness. Aid should be driven by need and demand. DFID should commit to achieving a technical assistance portfolio which is 100% coordinated and demonstrably demand-driven. The Accra High Level Forum should lead to more effective mechanisms to monitor progress against a greater range of targets linked to ownership. DFID must consistently define ownership as a democratic process which fully involves parliaments, civil society and citizens. Continue reading “Working Together to Make Aid More Effective”

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