Thirst for improving organizational performance is key to strong evaluation culture
Jan 23, 2023
Washington D.C., 23 January 2023 – “An organizational evaluation culture is one which appreciates and deliberately demands data, seeks empirical information on the achievement of its outcomes, and uses findings to improve its performance”. With this statement, inspired by the works of John Mayne*, Indran A. Naidoo, Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), began his presentation during the seminar titled ‘Building an Evaluation Culture: the experience of IFAD's IEO’, on 23 January 2023.
Organized and hosted by the Evaluation Unit of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Planning Budget and Evaluation (PBE) department, at its headquarters in Washington D.C., the event afforded the fast-maturing Evaluation Unit an opportunity to learn about UN experiences in advancing an evaluation culture, and to share insights and solutions about challenges in building said culture.
The list of participants of the seminar included the second highest ranking PAHO official, Deputy Director Mary Lou Valdez; as well as Luis Jimenez, Director of External Relations, Partnerships & Resource Mobilization; Rony Maza, Director of Planning, Budget and Evaluation (PBE); Roberto La Rovere, Senior Advisor, Head of PAHO’s Evaluation Unit, who moderated the event, and a host of senior professional staff covering a wide range of areas of technical expertise. In addition to Dr. Naidoo, IOE was represented by Fabrizio Felloni, IOE Deputy Director, who delivered a presentation alongside the IOE Director.
The IOE presentation focused on principles and practices to strengthen an organizational evaluation culture, improve transparency, and build accountability. Dr. Naidoo and Mr. Felloni spoke about the 2021 IFAD Evaluation Policy, including the common core principles of independent and self-evaluation, and the safeguards to IOE’s continued independence. The presentation also addressed the key elements of the Office’s first multi-year evaluation strategy, and touched upon the significance of the new edition of the IFAD evaluation manual – the first to be co-signed and jointly published by IOE and IFAD management. The new strategic approach to evaluation communication, which has led to a complete overhaul of IOE’s digital presence, on-line reach and perceived brand value, rounded off the discussions.
As part of the knowledge exchange session, the IOE delegation visited the Incident Management System Team (IMST), which is the operational heart from where all PAHO health emergency responses are coordinated, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the regional IMST, created in January 2020, PAHO – also serving as WHO’s Regional Office in the America - provided ministries of health and other national authorities with direct emergency response to the pandemic.
The PBE department implements PAHO’s evaluation policy, applying a results-based management approach in line with the organization’s mandates, policies, and strategies. In particular, the evaluation unit in PBE evaluates how and why results were or were not achieved and how corporate performance can be improved. PBE, as the custodian of the evaluation function, in PAHO implements the Corporate Evaluation Work Plan, approved by the Executive Management on the basis of organizational requirements, relevance or utility. The PBE Department is accountable to the Director and Deputy Director of PAHO, and the evaluation function and Unit at PAHO collaborates with the WHO Evaluation Office and with the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG).
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