Evaluation capacity development in selected countries in Latin America - FOCEVAL
FOCEVAL (Fomento de Capacidades en Evaluación) was an evaluation capacity development (ECD) project in Costa Rica and other selected countries across Latin America. Commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), DEval was in charge of implementing the project with its political partner, the Costa Rican Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy (MIDEPLAN).
The overarching goal of ECD measures is to strengthen the role of evaluations in policy-making. Costa Rica, in particular, already has a conducive environment for evaluation: The Costa Rican government has expressed a strong interest in strengthening evaluation capacity, with training and continuing education programmes already implemented at university level to promote professional expertise. By establishing a national evaluation agenda (ANE), the Costa Rican government has already established evaluation at policy level. FOCEVAL was designed to build on these foundations in Costa Rica, but also involved networking among key players based in other Latin American and Caribbean countries with the aim of advancing evaluation throughout the region.
The first phase of this project was conducted from July 2011 to June 2014 by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); from July 2014 to December 2016, DEval assumed responsibility for implementing the second phase of FOCEVAL on the German side. The second phase built on the work performed during the first phase while setting new priorities. January 2017 marked the beginning of the third phase of the project, which aimed to consolidate and further disseminate the results achieved so far during the project.
The evaluation capacity development (ECD) project FOCEVAL had the objective of strengthening the role of evaluation in political decision-making and the control of policy measures in Costa Rica and selected Latin American countries. The project had as its priority the consolidation of successful activities and processes in Costa Rica and the regional dissemination of successful formats.
Project impact sustainability was ensured by the implementation of an exit strategy. A key element of this was the development of a multi-actor platform which, after project completion, is controlled by the Costa Rican Ministry of Planning, MIDEPLAN, and occupies a central function in the national evaluation policy. This national evaluation policy was drawn up by various stakeholders and ensures the institutionalisation of evaluation in the country. FOCEVAL has also contributed to a strengthening of individual capacities, especially in the evaluation unit of MIDEPLAN, but also in other institutions, in parliament, at universities, in evaluation networks and in civil society.
Aims of the project
The project aimed to achieve an enhanced role for evaluation in policy-making and in steering policy interventions in Costa Rica and in other selected Latin American countries by 2018. It operated in the following strategic areas:
a) Consolidation in Costa Rica: Specific activities were carried out to strengthen and develop the groundwork that has already been laid in Costa Rica. These included consolidating existing training and continuing education structures and raising awareness among decision-makers in government, parliament and society. The project aimed to make targeted efforts to help young and upcoming evaluators acquire practical experience and to foster participation in evaluations by civil society. To ensure that any progress towards institutionalisation is sustainable, steps were taken to ensure that such progress is not affected by any change in government.
b) Dissemination in Latin America: To harness the regionalisation effects of the projects, selected learning and advisory products and the evaluation standards developed for the region were disseminated in collaboration with international networks and partners. Tried and tested measures were adapted to the context as required and mainstreamed in other countries in the region. Through specific activities and, above all, a regional platform, the project also provided a forum for sharing experience among country representatives from the region.
Moreover, project experience is to be used to draw up an ECD strategy.
c) ECD strategy development: Lessons learned were analysed throughout the entire project term. The resulting conclusions provided key inputs for an overarching ECD strategy for German development cooperation.
Status and planned course of the project
At the end of 2016, basic work packages were developed in collaboration with the project partner MIDEPLAN. Other key actors were also involved in this planning phase. Implementation of activities began in January 2017.
The first Plataforma Nacional meeting was held in Costa Rica in February 2017, facilitating exchange between relevant actors in government, civil society, research and academia in Costa Rica and providing an opportunity to set up cross-institutional working groups to implement the work packages.
The work packages to be implemented over the next two years included the following:
- assisting in developing a national evaluation policy in Costa Rica
- supporting evaluation systems in other Latin American countries
- supporting young and upcoming evaluators
- disseminating evaluation standards for Latin America and the Caribbean
- increasing the use of evaluations in parliaments
- enhancing participation by civil society
- expanding training programmes for evaluators and evaluation Managers.
Team leader: Erwin Geuder-Jilg
Evaluators: Sarah Desiree Klier, Juan Carlos Sanz