Considering that most of what we do takes place in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous contexts, evaluations need to play a double role. They should help us uncover the change dynamics beyond our sphere of influence and understanding the impact of our work (past the outcomes we monitor regularly), in view of improving our change strategies.
In so doing, evaluations are also elementary in being accountable towards the people whose livelihoods we seek to improve, the partners with whom we work, the donors (large and small) that support us financially and, last but not least, ourselves.
All the regional offices and international clusters of Rikolto are currently implementing projects that fall under a five-year strategic progamme (2017-2021). In this cycle, we have decided to put the greatest emphasis on a mid-term evaluation, with data collection taking place at the end of 2019 and data analysis in the first months of 2020.
This timing will allow first of all to have covered sufficient time to be able to detect impact beyond our direct partners – an essential condition for meaningful impact evaluations. Furthermore, we anticipate that a thorough mid-term evaluation at two-thirds of our programme implementation shall yield results that can actually be used to define an appropriate exit strategy.
The last year and a half of the current programme can then focus on key areas that will ensure the sustainability of the accomplished results after the end of the collaboration with our partners. In other cases, it will allow us to timely inscribe improved strategies and future collaborations that address critical outstanding challenges into new programme proposals.
Finally, putting this much emphasis on this mid-term evaluation should leave a solid impact analysis in place, easing the burden of the end-line assessment and making its result more quickly available. Beyond serving final accountability purposes, the end-line evaluation can then suggest tweaks and improvements to the new programme strategy whose implementation will already be ongoing by the time these evaluation results will have been published.