Home / FT View/ Assessing progress

Assessing progress


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 29 June 2018 00:24


Cabinet this week approved the introduction of a National Evaluation Policy to monitor over 1,300 development programs at all levels of State, to ensure that development goals are met. If done right, this could address key criticisms of inefficiency and mismanagement levelled at the Government, but it would also need to be broad-based to evaluate social equity and gender impacts to be truly useful.

The approval coincided with the appointment of a new committee to find out where bottlenecks have occurred in policy reforms already initiated by the Government. Together, these two measures could help Sri Lanka get closer to at least its prioritised goals.

Many countries around the world use monitoring systems largely to focus on financial and physical progress. In Sri Lanka, systematic evaluations have not been carried out on a regular basis to assist policymakers and related stakeholders, leaving an evidence gap that needs to be addressed, including the lack of evidence on how national policies and programs may impact women, men, girls, and boys differently. Hence, the country requires strategic evaluation of interventions to ascertain the value for money as well as quality of delivery of services and their contribution to the development outcomes or results for these different groups.

The use of well-designed and executed gender-responsive and equity-focused evaluations at strategic phases of development programs within all levels of government is required. The adoption of a National Evaluation Policy (NEP) provides guidance and direction on the use of evaluation and its role in national development. The adoption of the NEP and its implementation could create an enabling environment for evaluations to be used as a tool for results-based management. As such, the NEP will enable evaluation findings, complemented by monitoring, to strengthen national policies and strategies to achieve equitable and gender-responsive results.

If done right, a NEP can contribute to evidence-based decision-making for achievement of results through improved planning, budgeting, monitoring, and managing public sector programs and policies. It could enable sharing and learning from evaluation findings to improve development planning, management and implementation, strengthen the evaluation function through introduction of techniques, systems, human resource development, inculcation of professionalism, setting of standards, and ethical guidelines for evaluation. Perhaps the most important of all, it could enhance and promote accountability, transparency, good governance, social equity, and gender equality.

However, it is necessary to prioritise development programs for evaluation for operational and financial reasons. The number of programs or projects executed per ministry, department or statutory agency may be so numerous that it will be difficult to evaluate all of them. Factors such as finances, time, and human resources may be the limitations. Ideally, evaluations should examine the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact, sustainability, and gender-responsiveness of policy, program or project initiatives before and during implementation. Evaluation methodology should focus on the financial, economic, social, environmental, technical, policy, institutional, and sustainability aspects as may be relevant. 

Cross-sectoral issues such as gender equality, social equity, and the environment, should be assessed in all evaluations. Due consideration should be given to the political and policy environment. The financial and economic cost-benefit analysis to assess the value for money should be encouraged. Beneficiary assessment should form an integral part of evaluating programs. Putting together an effective NEP is a tall order. Given Sri Lanka’s existing challenges of efficiency, an NEP could become just another layer of bureaucracy and would need strong political will to bring tangible results.


Share This Article


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Automation and machine learning: Helping organisations extract deeper value from data

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The world is in the midst of a data explosion. Humans are generating an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day1, according to Forbes, and more data was created in the past two years than in all of human history. No wonder data now r


SL tourism: From TOM to experience the brand in 2019

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Last week I had just crossed the border that separates Laos from Thailand and was on route via land to Thailand. My mind was on Laos – a country branded globally as ‘Simply Beautiful’ (backed by the ADB in 2018) to attract visitors into the cou


Questionable (or absurd) official report on poverty indicators

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The latest Report issued by the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs on ‘Poverty Indicators’ is both questionable and outrageous.1This Ministry is under the responsibility of the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe. Most of the sta


Teaching the younger generation to observe professional ethics is the need of the hour

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

When Sri Lanka got independence in 1948, it was one of the most promising nations both in Asia and in the Commonwealth countries. It had luckily emerged unscathed after the Second World War unlike our neighbours. Sri Lanka furthermore did not have to


Columnists More