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

STEAMing STEM – Moving from horoscopes to telescopes!

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Walking into an inventors’ exhibition should give one an experience similar to an immersion into the future. The world change with inventions and inventors lead the change. The creativity displayed is an indicator of the creativity of the society f


There is smoke in the eyes of those who do not want to see!

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Shyamon Jayasinghe, a former citizen of Sri Lanka, now living in Victoria, Australia, writing to Daily FT in a Guest Column article has given an old college try at the President of Sri Lanka by announcing about a cloaked portentous writing on the wal


Modi celebrates birthday whilst making India strong – Lesson for SL

Thursday, 20 September 2018

The Indian Prime Minister celebrated his birthday earlier this week in the backdrop of India growing at a blistering performance of 7.1%. The January-March quarter saw the highest GDP growth in the last seven quarters with India becoming the sixth la


Maximum Residue Level: Dilemma of agricultural product exporters in Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Due to increased emphasis on consumer health, majority of developed countries such as EU, Japan and the US insist on MRL testing of food items which has to be done by the exporter. The Codex Alimentarius Commission which is an inter-governmental bod


Columnists More