Giulia Barnhisel, Sharon Dorcoo, Ana Chkheidze, John Olahan, Viviana Lascano Castro, Mariana Semehen
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What is CO-Evaluate trying to solve?
Donors still heavily dominate evaluation design, implementation, and use. There is a growing need for establishing country-level evaluation systems and delegating some if not most of the responsibilities to the government sector.
With this solution, we attempted to address the following problem statement: How can we increase design, implementation, and uptake of evaluations by and for national actors in order to shift the power from donor-led to country-led evaluations?
Who are our stakeholders?
- Civil Society Organizations
- Think Tanks
We interviewed up to 10 stakeholders from the diverse country and sector backgrounds including government sector representatives from Costa Rica, Mexico, and Ukraine; evaluators from Costa Rica, Peru, and Mexico; a member of academia from Ecuador, and a donor from Germany. We tested our prototype on three of the stakeholders mentioned above.
We are presenting a strategy brief that could be used by relevant decision-makers in the government bodies. The solution, country-led evaluation strategy, includes 3 pillars:
1. Establishing/Reinforcing Partnerships:
- ONLINE COMMUNITY PLATFORM: NATIONAL EVALUATION SERVICE: this online tool will connect policy-makers, evaluators, practitioners, and donors to engage around evaluation. The platform can be used as a source of information about completed evaluations, will connect actors, and include different filters for easy use. This network will improve transparency, accountability, equity, and sustainability on a national scale.
- ISSUE-ORIENTED CONSORTIUM [or ADVISORY COMMITTEE] - which will design frameworks for diverse and equitable engagement; fundraising strategy for diagnostic assessment of evaluation capacities in government; ensure evaluation use; provide a strategy for evaluation selection criteria. There will be a requirement for having equal representation of civil society, research/evaluators, practitioners, networks, parliamentarians, think thanks, and policy-makers.
2. Strengthening Evaluation Capacity
The second pillar is strengthening the national evaluation of human capacity. Through government-subsidized (or business-sponsored) trainings and workshops on human-centered approaches, equity, research methodology, monitoring and evaluation, and soft skills that will engage civilians, researchers, donors, evaluators, networks, parliamentarians & policymakers at all government levels; national evaluation associations that will gather current professionals and support young evaluators through mentorship programs and resources.
3. Improving the Legal and Policy Framework
Improve or establish policy and legal frameworks around evaluation that result from advisory committee partnerships and agree on conducting culturally responsive and equitable evaluations, incorporate evaluation advocacy and use policy, resource allocations and evaluation capacity training, fiscal agreements, community empowerment strategies for citizens, Use of evidence to assign the budget to evaluation-related efforts.
Why Does it Matter?
Funders can set the agenda for evaluations in countries, have trained evaluators who complete the evaluations, but the evidence from such work may not yield sustainable, culturally-relevant, and equitable results. Thus the decision-making efforts in the context of the said countries may not yield desired impacts.
How Does the World After our Solution Look Like?
✓ Sustainable Development
✓ Evidence-Based, Equitable, and Contextualized Policies within Countries
✓ Evaluations Capacity Strengthening
✓ Increase in Evaluation Use
Transitioning to a more country-level evaluation ecosystem will require all interested governments to undertake herculean tasks initially; however, once the system is finally established the stakeholders will be able to make a sustainable impact through their time, energy, and services. So the main challenge of the uptake of our proposed strategy and system will be for the governments and other decision-makers to be willing to "revolutionalize" the way evaluations are done in their respective countries. The concepts introduced would require the active participation and contribution of multisectoral actors, therefore primary mobilization of various stakeholders would be needed. We believe that the system is financially sustainable, since it does not exclude financial assistance from the donors but rather pushes for delegation of important roles to the government body.
Our Team Work
It took some time for our team to come together on July 8th and start working. Throughout the week, we had 4 Zoom calls each lasting about an hour where we discussed ideas and ways to move forward. We used several PDF templates provided by our DT coach: Challenge Definition; Persona; Interview Preparation. We conducted our Brain Dump exercise using Google Spreadsheets (located in our sources) where we each had our 'tab of ideas', and a final one where we consolidated our thoughts and selected the most viable options. Subsequently, we identified and interviewed a diverse group of stakeholders and prototyped our product with them. We then modified the solution (presentation of the concept) to make it more succinct and easily digestible for the target audience. Some of the challenges we encountered included: working across 4 continents (North America, South America, Eurasia, Africa), prototyping strategy which is more conceptual than a physical tool would be, and collaborating over the weekend before the deadline. We used existing reports from multinational organizations (OECD, UNICEF, and CLEAR) in our research for the solution. Please see our behind the scenes by following the "Source" button.
Thank you for your attention!
Contact Info of the Team:
Ana Chkheidze: Linkedin
Giulia Barnhisel: Linkedin
Sharon Dorcoo: Linkedin
Viviana Lascano Castro: E-mail
Mariana Semehen: Linkedin
John Olahan: Linkedin
Check out our full video script!