Using knowledge: GIZ presents its Evaluation Report 2020

First findings presented after reform of evaluation system

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has reformed its evaluation system, and this evaluation report describes the first findings under the new system. The report covers a total of 215 project evaluations and their assessment. It shows that the reform is making a difference. Evaluations are now of a better quality and more comparable.

Martin Jäger, Chair of the GIZ Supervisory Board and State Secretary at BMZ, said ‘Evaluation is – quite rightly – of growing importance in international cooperation and is attracting more and more attention, as it is both a corrective and a signpost to the future. We constantly need to check that our approaches remain viable and effective. GIZ’s evaluation reform ensures it can meet stringent German and international standards of quality and transparency.’

As part of the reform, GIZ has tightened up its evaluation criteria and improved both its methodology and the independence of its evaluations: they are centrally managed by the Evaluation Unit, which works with independent external experts. Projects are also now evaluated only once they are completed, enabling results to be better quantified. The projects evaluated in line with the new standards are rated 2.3 on average.

Member of the GIZ Management Board Ingrid-Gabriele Hoven said, ‘We want to design our work to be as effective as possible. Evaluations are crucial to our ability to do this. They provide us with the facts that underpin ongoing decisions about project work. As a federal enterprise in international cooperation, our aim is always to be transparent, develop our instruments and improve our services in the long term. We want to know what works and to learn as an institution.’

Governance projects ‘successful overall’

One focus of the latest evaluation report was on GIZ’s work in the area of good governance. Anti-corruption, strengthening civil society and ensuring functioning local government are just three aspects of a wide-ranging portfolio in this area that has grown by more than 65 per cent since 2008. Almost one GIZ project in four now targets good governance. The 65 good governance projects included in the report have an average rating of ‘successful overall’. This is particularly the case for projects whose objectives include improving municipal services provided by municipal offices and town halls and increasing citizens’ involvement in political decision-making. Approaches to closer cooperation between municipalities and governments are particularly promising. One example is decentralisation reform in Ghana. In cooperation with the Ghana Revenue Authority and municipalities, GIZ developed a tax register covering businesses and properties. One impact has been an increase in municipal revenues.

Evaluation also shows that advisory services in the area of governance are strongly influenced by the political framework. Advisory services can provide valuable support where political decision-makers have the will to drive reform. ‘Fragile countries like Iraq, Mali and Niger represent particular challenges in this context,’ says Hoven. ‘More than half of the advisory services we provide in the area of governance now relate to fragile contexts. And that trend is set to continue.’ To tackle these challenges, GIZ has now introduced a standardised context analysis. Even before a project gets under way, factors such as the political balance of power, the role of civil society and the military, human rights issues and the potential for citizen involvement are analysed so that the project work itself is as effective as possible. Mali is an example of how advisory services in the area of governance can be effective even in a volatile environment. Despite a difficult political framework, GIZ advised hundreds of municipalities in the country on managing their own finances to provide the population with access to waste disposal, mains water and electricity.

Displacement and migration: achieving results despite difficult conditions

Displacement and migration form another focus of the GIZ Evaluation Report. Here, the report does not make a final assessment of projects but seeks to identify the lessons that can be learned from the experience of ongoing projects. GIZ’s work in this area has sometimes taken place under difficult conditions, particularly in the countries neighbouring Syria: hundreds of thousands of individuals have fled to countries and regions that were completely unprepared for this influx. There has therefore been significant pressure on GIZ and other organisations to act.

The evaluation team, which scrutinised the work of a total of 95 projects, confirmed the validity of GIZ’s integrative approach to supporting not only refugees and the displaced but also host communities, to prevent social conflict. The report also finds that it is important always to link necessary direct support with medium- and long-term measures to create prospects for people. One example is the ‘cash for work’ approach, in which individuals receive direct remuneration for employment. This approach provides refugees and residents of host communities alike with short-term income opportunities. However, over the medium and long term, initial and continuing vocational training opportunities are also needed to create future prospects. A long-term improvement in living conditions also requires the involvement of municipal bodies and non-governmental organisations and training for their employees, such as teachers in schools and vocational schools and counsellors providing psychosocial support for refugees.

You can download the Evaluation Report 2020 from www.giz.de/wissenwaswirkt. (Report is only available in German)