Evaluation Capacity Development in Latin America (FOCEVAL)
Title: Evaluation Capacity Development in Latin America (FOCEVAL)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Costa Rica
Lead executing agency: Ministerio de Planificación Nacional y Política Económica (MIDEPLAN)
Overall term: 2011 to 2014
A number of Central American countries have already created – or are currently creating – governmental monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems. Such systems can contribute significantly to the effectiveness and efficiency of the public administration. Evaluation makes the impacts of public projects, -programmes and policies transparent. Certain challenges still need to be met, however. On the political level, national development planning and budgeting and the corresponding sub-systems for monitoring and evaluation need to be further refined. The political will to set aside public funds to conduct evaluations transparently and then to address the possibly critical results of such evaluations does not always exist. On the technical level, capacities for the implementation and management of evaluations must be enhanced in order to improve the quality and credibility of the evaluations themselves. Furthermore, 'evaluation' can be defined in a number of different ways, so that another challenge arises in the need to refine concepts and define terminology, and improve coordination among the institutions involved.
In the field of evaluation, high-quality, demand-driven training has been institutionalised throughout the region. Competencies for the implementation and management of evaluations have been improved. Evaluations of public programmes meet international standards. The principle of evaluation has gained credibility among political leaders and institutions. Strategic evaluations have become a permanent and sustainable part of Costa Rica's national M&E system.
The project uses a systematic approach to develop evaluation competencies on all levels (individual, organisational, societal). Through the FOCEVAL platform, with various ministries, academic institutions and civil society organisations on board, the programme promotes cooperation between central (national) and regional actors in the field of M&E.
A learning-by-doing approach is used to increase evaluation competencies. Together, the programme's own impact-oriented M&E system and the Capacity WORKS management model constitute the foundation for regular feedback loops within the cooperation system.
FOCEVAL began operations in 2011 in Costa Rica. The aim is to expand the system to other Latin American countries.
Results achieved so far
- The topic of evaluation as a learning and management instrument is in place on the political level. The subject is being discussed, and key public administration officials are open to it.
- The capacity of the Costa Rican Ministry of Planning and Economic Policy to perform evaluations has been strengthened. The ministerial department responsible has increased its technical and organisational capacities, developed instruments and aids to orientation, and has carried out the first strategic evaluations of public programmes.
- The University of Costa Rica has entered into a strategic alliance with the Ministry of Planning. It has expanded its courses on evaluation and geared them to the needs of the public administration.
- On the regional level, exchange and cooperation between academic institutions and the institutions responsible for national planning and evaluation systems has been strengthened.