Just back from a buzzing, interactive workshop on ‘Evaluation Design and Approaches’ with WFP staff in Bangkok!
The World Food Programme’s (WFP) current results framework directly supports two Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 2 Zero Hunger and SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals. WFP currently operates in partner countries through 5-year Country Strategic Plans (CSPs). With recent decentralisation in WFP, WFP country offices are now responsible for managing Decentralised Evaluations half way through the implementation of their Country Strategic Plans. This means Monitoring and Evaluation officers in country offices need a new, diverse set of skills and competencies, which WFP HQ supports with online training and a 1-week face-to-face training for M&E officers, focusing on commissioning and managing evaluations.
The WFP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific contacted us to specifically provide technical training on Theory of Change and Evaluation Approaches, as part of their Regional Evaluation Strategy (2018-2021).
The aim of our 4-day workshop was to support WFP M&E officers from the Asia and Pacific region to enhance their technical knowledge and skills for managing evaluations, as well as explore how to foster the uptake of evaluation findings to improve WFP’s programmes.
M&E officers from 10 countries in the region, together with M&E officers from the regional bureau gathered to share evaluation experiences and learn about evaluation methodologies. We spent a whole day developing programme-specific theories of change (as an evaluative exercise to reconstruct programme logic). This is a critical exercise when trying to assess an intervention’s contribution to change. We explored the meaning of evaluative thinking and discussed the need for M&E staff and programming staff to better integrate their work. We practised developing evaluation questions and critiqued a current evaluation matrix. We covered a range experimental and quasi experimental approaches to assess impact, and explored other evaluation approaches which focus on stakeholders perceptions of change. As a mantra, we continued reflecting on the key questions of: “Why do we evaluate?” and “Who are evaluations for?” to really understand the purpose of an evaluative exercise, and the direct link with a learning culture, where demand for evaluation findings and evidence can fuel improved knowledge sharing practice.