Assessing our performance in evaluation

A year ago, the evaluation department of the Belgian Ministry of Development Cooperation initiated a study process aimed at defining a certification mechanism for organizations subsidized by Belgian development cooperation (NGOs, universities, unions, ENABEL, BIO, etc.).

This certification concerns the quality of evaluations of projects or programs implemented by these organizations. The objective is to promote the improvement of the quality of the evaluations produced, to strengthen the impact of the actions implemented by the subsidized organizations, to consolidate the learning dynamics within the organizations and between the organizations, and to facilitate accountability with regard to the use of public funds.

Cota was directly involved in this study, in consortium with the consultancy firms Ace Europe and HIVA, and in particular contributed to the development of a self-assessment manual for an organization’s evaluation performance, which can be consulted here :

This self-assessment is the starting point of the certification process, in the sense that no organization can formally apply for certification without having assessed three interdependent aspects on the basis of a criteria grid. As a starting point, the organization self-assesses a sample of assessment reports produced in the last three years. Then, in order to better understand and analyze the strengths and weaknesses detected, the organization self-assesses the processes it uses to conduct evaluations (how it defines terms of reference, how it controls the quality of deliverables). Finally, it assesses its own capacity to organize the evaluation function (roles and tasks of evaluation staff, etc.).

The results of this self-assessment are used to build an improvement plan, which is also a prerequisite for any certification. On this basis, the organization will be visited by an assessor who will attest to the probity of the information provided by the organization and its willingness to improve the quality of the evaluations produced.

All the documents resulting from the study (general report on the process, self-assessment manual and assessor’s guide) can be found on the diplomacy.belgium portal.