Hello dear colleagues, We’re Alisher Nazirov and Tatiana Tretiakova, representatives of national evaluation communities of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and we would like to share our impressions from one of the most memorable exchange of experience and practices – a study tour to the Washington Evaluators. The tour was supported by the American Evaluation Association, while Donna Mertens helped us to overcome all the invisible barriers.
The visit to Washington, DC was quite short but very intense. It was extremely important that we got an opportunity to get acquainted with the work of evaluators at different levels: federal, state, and county. Meetings were held at the Department of State, Government Accountability Office (GAO), George Washington University, with private companies and independent consultants. Each meeting was very interesting, carefully prepared and illuminated a certain side of evaluators’ work. The meetings were held not only with evaluators, but also with donor organizations such as USAID and the World Bank.
Lesson Learned: How Evaluations are Commissioned
We learned that the Department of State only makes the decision to commission an evaluation of a project. This is then followed by a competition, which helps to select a private company or an independent evaluator who evaluates, writes a report and recommendations for decision-making. Evaluation work is funded from different sources. We then had meetings with foundations and private organizations of evaluators who told us about the peculiarities of their work.
Lesson Learned: Consciously Approaching the Commissioning Process
We found it very important that each organization approached evaluation commissioning, implementation, and use in decision making consciously. Take for example, GAO, it is the audit, evaluation, analytical, and investigative body of US Congress. That is, there are clear commissioners of evaluation who are interested in obtaining objective data on implementation of these programs. These customers represent a specific constituency, and therefore are interested in receiving vital information about the effectiveness of the program. This example is very informative for Kyrgyzstan, which is a parliamentary republic.
Lesson Learned: Communication Among Organizations
During the visit we realized that not only the organizations’ activities were important, but also the rules and forms of interaction built among the organizations. Excellent “horizontal” communication methods that are used by different groups of evaluators, and in which we had a chance to participate, showed us the importance of organizing professional communication among evaluators.
We found Washington Evaluators’ activities very active and diverse and we feel very grateful to all involved individuals for showing us a complete and well-organized system that helped us gain a new perspective on the development of our respective organizations.
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