Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lessons on the Complexity for the Results Agenda

Managing better for results, not just measuring them better: lessons on complexity for the results agenda.


Recent reforms at DFID, USAID and elsewhere attempt to improve the quality of aid by stressing a more robust focus on results. So far, this has largely translated into a more rigorous measurement of impact, tying impact assessments to existing systems that shape implementation. Unfortunately, lessons from elsewhere suggest this will be insufficient to ensure ‘smarter aid’ delivers the envisaged increase in effectiveness, unless agencies start to rethink the underlying systems and accountabilities themselves. More specifically, agencies need to recognise the complexity of the many problems they face, and adjust implementation structures accordingly.
Initiatives under the ‘results agenda’ often rest on the judgement that  evaluation in development has paid insufficient attention – or insufficiently rigorous attention – to the effect a programme has on its surroundings, and to the wellbeing of people in developing countries. This is a valid judgement and reflects a solid appraisal (as evidenced by an ODI study of evaluation in development agencies), and will direct resources and political capital to an area where they are much-needed.  However, a good deal of the debate – from myself included – has focused on which methodology to use to measure results, rather than the broader context of how information on results can feed into systems for decision-making and accountability.  

Continued... read full article linked here.

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