Abdul Majeed on the Importance of Clarifying the Concept of Evaluation

Hi, I am Abdul, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at FEFA organization in Kabul. The lessons learned are based on my own experience as I had an opportunity to establish an M&E department for the first time at FEFA organization in Kabul. I Monitored the Election Observation Mission ($ 3.5 million) by deploying and providing trainings to 10,000 observers all over Afghanistan to observe the election process in 2014.

Throughout my M&E experience since 2013, I concluded that most people (especially here in Afghanistan) are scared of Evaluation. They are concerned that it would stop the support of funders to the organization once they undertake the evaluation. It is quite important to make clear the concept of monitoring and evaluation, and especially that this process will eventually not only shed light on what the status of an organization, but will also attract many sources of funding as it will reveal both failure and success an organization would have and practical steps to be taken for improvements based on evaluation findings. It is my personal experience that while establishing an M&E department at FEFA organization (which was a requirement of the Donor) for the first time, many staff were asking about its necessity and some were thinking of it as a spy for the Donor. No one was willing to talk and make friends with me. They thought and had a concept that monitoring and evaluation processes serves as reporting to the Donor or funding agencies what is going on in organization. I gradually told them that “look, if you don’t know about your problems, how will you fix them?” I made clear to them that the M&E will bridge the gaps at any organization and improve the performance according to their recommendations. At the end I would like emphasize that the funding agencies should support the M&E department to sustain their independence, otherwise they might be pressured to report only those aspects that are acceptable for the management.

Lessons Learned:

  • Working closely with all program staff and giving them a sense of ownership in Evaluation would motivate them to fully cooperate
  • Reflecting on what has been achieved and what had not been achieved and how to bridge the gaps improves the credibility and importance of evaluation in an organization
  • Periodic meeting of Funding agencies with M&E department enhances their role and independence.

I hope you would find it worth reading, this is my second time writing for aea365 and your motivation would inspire me to continue my writing on evaluation.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

2 thoughts on “Abdul Majeed on the Importance of Clarifying the Concept of Evaluation”

    1. Thank you Jerry for you nice words. I hope to have more articles and valuable feedback from your side. Best Regards.
      Abdul Majeed

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