Rome, 11 May 2023 – Strengthening the capacities of the most marginalized who are facing crises is a complex and challenging endeavour. The pathways to help them achieve the necessary adaptive, absorptive and transformative capacities should match the responses at the individual, community and institutional level to address the needs of these marginalized. Dr S. Nanthikesan, Lead Evaluation Officer at the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), highlighted this point during the 2023 EvalXchange event, on 11 May 2023.
Organized by the World Food Programme (WFP) Office of Evaluation, the EvalXchange session to which IOE’s Lead Evaluation Officer contributed to was titled ‘Changing lives: Rising to the challenge of evaluating country capacity strengthening’. The event brought together experiences of different organizations and experts to take stock of the current evaluation practices and tools to assess country capacity strengthening (CCS) to implement the SDGs, and the challenges that remain. A group of expert panellists addressed the event, which built on interactive question and answer segments. Over 90 participants joined on-line, including evaluation practitioners, development partners and other stakeholders.
Speaking at the event, Dr Nanthikesan drew from the experience of IOE’s ‘Thematic Evaluation of IFAD’s Support to Smallholder Farmers’ Climate Adaptation’ to illustrate the conceptualization and method of evaluating capacity. In his presentation, IOE’s Lead Evaluation Officer outlined multiple response pathways to climate threats, including support to absorbing the damage, strengthening preparedness, and enhancing learning and facilitating system change. Each pathway involved action at the individual, community, and institutional levels. This multi-pronged approach has the potential to increase the capacity to absorb climate shocks while continuing to function; to face hazardous events and reorganize after the events; and to shift to a new mode of system behaviour when continuing along the same trajectory becomes untenable.
Multiple interrelated issues were addressed during the event. In particular, discussions included the strategies to understand the complex and interconnected nature of country capacity strengthening; the critical importance of approaches that start with and end in addressing the demands of those who are left behind; and the context-dependence of the solutions to capacity development.
This was the third edition of the EvalXchange series. Other sessions of the 2023 edition included ‘Timely evidence for humanitarian support: Early learnings from impact evaluations using high- frequency data’, and ‘Disability inclusive practices in evaluation: Where are we and what can we learn?’. Cumulatively, the event drew the interest of close to 600 participants. EvalXchange is a series of virtual learning events, organized by the Office of Evaluation of WFP. Drawing from current evaluations in the humanitarian-development field, EvalXchange is a place to learn, a time to share experiences to improve the practice of evaluation in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the UN Reform.
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- To access the 2023 EvalExchange event page, please click here.