Monday, July 12, 2004

Where have all the evaluations gone?

Try finding the DFID Evaluation department on the DFID website, at Not an easy task. Compare it to the SIDA website at ,where it very visibly placed on the first page

Try finding copies of recent DFID evaluations. The most recently numbered report is number 637, but there are only 125 actually listed on the website. There are about 10 per year listed from 1989 to 1998, but only 1 to 2 listed each year from 1999 to 2001, and none for 2003 onwards. Notably absent is the Development Effectiveness Report, produced in 2001 (though accessible via a key word search - but only if you already knew its title) And these are all listed in a section that is accessed through the Freedom of Information link on the DFID website!

Over the on the USAID EvalWeb website at there is evidence of a similar decline in the availability of evaluations. The website notes that "An impetus for this site is the decline in evaluations and assessments that are submitted to USAID's document repository, the Development Experience Clearinghouse. From 529 in 1994 to a projected 135 in 2003

Why the decline in evaluation activity, or at least the public availability of those reports, or at least information about their public availability? The increased channelling of DFID funds through sector wide and direct budget support funding mechanisms seems an unlikely explanation. Given the risks, especially with the latter, this development might be expected to generate more, rather than less, evaluation activity. And why all the gaps in the series of evaluation reports that are listed on the website? Why not list all that were undertaken, and if any are out of print, then say so.