Strengthening National Evaluation Systems: Perspectives and Approaches for Effective Implementation

At gLOCAL2023, GEI implementing partners CLEAR-FA and ENAP co-hosted a panel discussion on strengthening national monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems.
23 June 2023

As part of gLOCAL Evaluation Week 2023, GEI Implementing Partners, École Nationale d'Administration Publique (ENAP) and the Center for Learning on Evaluation and Results for Francophone Africa (CLEAR-FA) co-hosted a panel discussion on strengthening national monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems. The panel included Elodie Roy, International Affairs Advisor, ENAP, and Amos Menard, Deputy Director, CLEAR-FA, with moderation by Abdoulaye Gounou, Director General of the Direction Générale de l'Evaluation et de l'Observatoire du Changement Social, Republic of Benin.

The session focused on two main topics: 1) how to define national M&E systems, and 2) how ENAP and CLEAR-FA support in-country stakeholders with strengthening their national evaluation systems.

Highlights of the Discussion

The panelists began by defining a national monitoring and evaluation system. They described it as a set of interacting components, which could include individuals involved in carrying out, commissioning, or utilizing evaluation findings. These individuals may belong to the public sector, professional associations, national networks, evaluation networks, civil society organizations, or the private sector. The purpose of establishing national monitoring and evaluation systems is to assist governments in making informed development and governance decisions. These systems aim to produce, plan, and offer information and data that can be used in public decision-making, ultimately leading to better social and economic development and governance results. Capacity-building organizations like CLEAR-FA and ENAP play an important role in this process.

Recommendations from CLEAR-FA and ENAP

The CLEAR centers were established in 2010 as a global initiative by a consortium of partners, including the World Bank. Their primary objective is to improve M&E capacities and strengthen national monitoring and evaluation systems in developing countries.

The approach taken by CLEAR-FA in strengthening national M&E systems varies depending on the country's external and internal parameters. CLEAR-FA's capacity-building approach is context-specific, and considers the culture, environment, and priorities of the countries it operates in. The approach involves an iterative and inclusive intervention process that engages various stakeholders responsible for implementing the evaluation agenda at the country level. This process includes identifying key stakeholders, conducting advocacy actions to initiate collective efforts, analyzing the country's evaluation ecosystem, identifying stakeholders' needs and expectations, identifying capacity gaps, and establishing a capacity-building plan for national stakeholders. CLEAR-FA utilizes tools such as GEI’s Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Analysis (MESA) to diagnose the evaluation ecosystem in a country and has assisted countries in developing national evaluation policies. Additionally, CLEAR-FA offers diploma and certificate courses in M&E to enhance individual and national capacities.

Several key lessons from their country work were highlighted by CLEAR-FA:

  1. Strengthening national evaluation systems is a complex process.
  2. Leadership, political dynamics, and the roles of different actors with varying levels of influence and interest can either catalyze or hinder the strengthening of national evaluation systems.
  3. There is no one-size-fits-all approach; each country requires a unique approach tailored to its choices, expressed needs, context, and environment.

The École Nationale d'Administration Publique (ENAP) is a Quebec-based university specializing in public administration and the only French-speaking university in that field. ENAP also implements the Programme International de Formation en Évaluation du Développement (PIFED), a training program that provides training to M&E stakeholders in French-speaking countries. Elodie Roy shared insights gained from ENAP’s experience supporting M&E capacity building in support of strengthening the national M&E system, emphasizing the following points:

  1. Individuals are at the core of national M&E systems, so it is essential to be aware of their knowledge needs and prioritize their skills through training to ensure an adequate number of qualified personnel.
  2. Developing genuine evaluation capacity and competence often requires a series of tailored training courses rather than a single intervention.
  3. Training offerings should be adapted and diversified.
  4. Organizational support processes should be established.
  5. Establishing a community of practice can be beneficial.

By focusing on these lessons and approaches, stakeholders can work towards strengthening national evaluation systems effectively.


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