Demand and Supply Sides of Evaluation by Abdul Majeed

Hi all and Happy New Year 2017. I’m Abdul Majeed, M&E officer at Free & Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA) in Kabul.  We increase public awareness on the importance of evaluation and the magnificent result it can have on improvements in the management of any organization. I have the honor of establishing the M&E department at FEFA with a track record in project implementation and fund raising for a national program.

Lesson Learned: Based on my little experience in M&E, I’ve noticed that the supply side is greater than the demand side for evaluation (or M&E in whole). I think efforts are required to attract the attention of governments, organizations, and institutions on the importance of evaluation to help in increasing the demand for it (or at least make them aware of its importance).

There might be an unwillingness from governments/organizations to conduct evaluation intentionally (as it will reveal what is happening in the ground) or unintentionally (due lack of knowledge on the importance of this notion and its value).

Lesson Learned: Achieving substantive demand for evaluation is not easy. Sometimes, a barrier is lack of knowledge about what evaluation encompasses. There seems a lack of demand by governments (particularly) for evaluation (mostly) because of the lack of understanding of evaluation and what it can provide.  Therefore, awareness workshops could be conducted to demonstrate the usefulness of evaluation and the results it would have in enhancing transparency, supporting accountability, improving the management, and the positive role it may play in policy development/review, program management and organizational learning.

Lesson Learned: Funding agencies can also play a critical role to pressure governments/organizations to conduct evaluation and ask them to support evaluation as a requirement (not as an option). This will promote this process and help decision-makers consider it critically and seriously, and take practical steps in conducting a thorough and independent evaluation. As a result, the demand can be significantly increased.  Publicity of both funding and recipient countries can also help in achieving a substantive demand for evaluation if they ask their governments for evidence on resource allocations and spending.

An anti-corruption campaign will also help in achieving the demand for evaluation as evaluation will enhance transparency and accountability in ministries and agencies across the country. By conducting a meaningful evaluation, there will be less chance for corruption (subject to utility of its information).

Hot Tips:

  • Conducting awareness campaigns on importance of evaluation and its demand
  • Media can play a critical role in awareness campaigns
  • Terminology of evaluation should be simplified
  • Sharing examples of those countries who have benefited from evaluation
  • Incentives are necessary in achieving demand for evaluation

At the end, it is important that conducting evaluation only for the sake of knowing what worked or not is insufficient unless its information is used.

I am trying to increase public awareness on the importance of evaluation and the magnificent result

I highly appreciate comments and suggestions and appreciated readers’ compliments on my previous article.

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5 thoughts on “Demand and Supply Sides of Evaluation by Abdul Majeed”

  1. I totally agree. I think that public awareness of evaluation and the use of evaluation needs to be a central goal of AEA leadership. In my experience almost no one knows what an evaluator is or does. (Try entering your field of work in any web site that asks for it!) Even the word “evaluator” often comes up as misspelled by spell-check programs. While large government agencies know all about evaluation, small non-profits are generally unaware. The program I was in at Mich State had the philosophy of identifying problems, finding solutions, implementing those solutions, proving their value, and disseminating. Those are all services that evaluators can give–and things that non-profit leaders rarely do!

    Evaluators could be giving a huge service to the world of people trying to help social problems, but the service providers do not know that our services even exist and AEA does nothing to market our field to those who could so much use it.

    I get a daily email from Harvard Business Review. Recently they promoted a book that was all about studying your program and assessing how well it works. Yet the promotion of the book indicated that the author was totally unaware both of the social science available to help small organizations (non- and for-profit) nor the field of evaluation with trained professionals who could do what that author was encouraging untrained amateurs to do.

    I’d like to see the current or next President of AEA connect with business schools like Harvard to help their faculty become aware of the field of evaluation.

    1. Hi Phil, Thank you for your great comment and I strongly agree with your insight. I thought this unawareness about Evaluation is experienced by me only but now I am sure it is a problem all over the world. In my previous article, I mentioned that even people think of evaluation as only judging someone’s performance and fear of seizing the budget (by funding agencies). AEA can do more in this regard and we evaluators can promote the concept using social media. Thanks.

    1. Dear Jenn,
      I will appriciate to have your scheme about supply and demand of evaluation. I am in cagrge for M&E part in our association and work on promotion of M&E.

      Kind regards

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