Evaluation

Impact evaluations shed light on whether the intervention (i.e. the partnering endeavour’s activities) had a beneficial effect on the target groups or focus area, and whether this effect can legitimately be attributed to the intervention. Typically, evaluations focus on project and programme results – often at the request of external donors – but it can also be important to assess the collaboration process itself.

There may be several dimensions of interest: impact of activities on the partner organisations, efficiency and effectiveness of the collaboration, the added value for partners (organisations and individuals), and the ability of participants to consider the validity of a partnering approach compared to single sector or more conventional alternatives.

Sometimes an evaluation is best undertaken by independent specialists, but this is not always the case. Whichever approach is selected, it is vital that partners are consulted and engaged in a dynamic and open way so they feel they are contributing and learning rather than simply being ‘assessed’. A comprehensive partnering evaluation assesses: how far the partners have fulfilled their commitments (holding to account), the level of openness and transparency in how they work together (giving an account), and the degree of responsiveness and agility when surrounding circumstances change (taking account). The latter has strategic implications as it may require a shift in direction.

GUIDING QUESTIONS

  • What is required to ensure timely and valid information about outputs, outcomes, and potential impacts?
  • What kind of baseline can partners agree?
  • What should participants share with others in terms of lessons learned?

RECOMMENDED PRACTICES

  • Tool: The Better Evaluation initiative shares and generates information about options (methods or processes) and approaches to improve evaluations.
  • Tool: The Goldilocks website of Interventions for Poverty Action (IPA) and the Center for Effective Global Action gather lessons from more than a dozen non-profits and social businesses on how to successfully monitor and evaluate social programs.

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

  • Result monitoring / evaluating routines are co-decided and up and running
  • A dedicated individual or team has been appointed with responsibility for partnership evaluation