Programme and Project Evaluations are key learning points for organisations. I have undertaken hundreds of programme and project evaluations over the last 30 years - spanning large emergency and humanitarian aid progammes delivering a holistic range of services from emergency assistance to rehabilitation of services including health, education, housing, education and support services for vulnerable groups. In Scotland I have undertaken programme and project evaluations for small community based organisations through to large local authorities who were reviewing their service provision.
Programme or Project Evaluations should answer some key questions and enable future planning by providing evidence or assessment of the following:
Important principles of every evaluation undertaken are:
In its conception and implementation every evaluation needs to achieve a maximum level of objectivity and impartiality. Statement of facts needs to be methodically clearly distinguished from assessments. It is important that different perspectives are taken into account, as well as strengths and weaknesses. Results, conclusions and recommendations need to be supported by evidence and must be comprehensible.
Participation of all parties concerned in the entire process
An evaluation needs to be as participatory as possible (e.g. developing jointly the Terms of Reference with the project partners, and involvement of key stakeholders enhances the possibility of all parties involved to comment on the results or the evaluation report).
Transparency and Focus
The evaluation assignment must be clearly defined and focussed: Description of the initial situation (project programme details), objectives of the evaluation, central questions, methodologies, qualifications of the evaluation team, reporting requirements. In most cases, an evaluation cannot cover all evaluation criteria to the same extent, hence a strict definition of priorities is essential.
The utilisation and preparation of basic data is necessary in order to prove the assessment and the conclusions in a credible fashion. The evaluation results stated in the evaluation report must be comprehensible.
Completeness and clarity of reports
The report has to be structured according to the agreed evaluation criteria and questions. All evaluation questions must be answered.
Fairness and protection of the interests of the parties involved
Security, dignity and rights of the persons involved in the evaluation must be protected.