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Thursday, September 20 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm
The promise and practice of partner-led evaluation: a policy research programme case study

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Stuart Raetz (Australian Red Cross), Jessica Dart (Clear Horizon Consulting), Tiina Pasanen (Overseas Development Institute), Julien Colomer (International Union for the Conservation of Nature)

This presentation will reflect on a partner-led approach that was taken in an evaluation of a global policy research programme. The International Forestry Knowledge programme (KNOWFOR) was a £38 million UK Aid funded partnership between the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Bank Programme of Forests (PROFOR) between 2012-2017.

The partner-led approach involves shared ownership, leadership and responsibility for evaluation with multiple actors. In KNOWFOR the evaluation partners took a lead role in design and planning, data collection, analysis, interpretation and reporting. Partners were supported by an external evaluation facilitator (Clear Horizon Consulting) who played a coordination role while an external quality assurer (the Overseas Development Institute [ODI]) provided independence and credibility. The decision to take a partner-led evaluation was made by partners to build on ownership of a shared M&E system, harness organisational knowledge and to enhance partner's ability to learn.

Based on the shared KNOWFOR experience of those involved in the evaluation as well as independent observers this presentation will argue that the partner-led evaluation has the potential to create meaningful dialogue and learning within and between donors and implementing partners. However, the potential advantages of partner led evaluation need to be seen in the light of several challenges in this approach that are highlighted by the KNOWFOR evaluation. These challenges included coordination between partners and timeframes, ensuring independence from bias, balancing partner versus programme learning, supporting differing levels of partner capacities and ensuring shared ownership of the evaluation findings.

Overall the KNOWFOR case highlights the potential of partner led evaluation to provide an opportunity for inter-organisational learning. In the right institutional environment this approach also presents an opportunity to decentre the traditional donor/recipient relationship. The KNOWFOR case provides rich insight into these dynamics and challenges.

avatar for Anthea McClintock

Anthea McClintock

Senior Manager Evaluation, NSW DPC
I lead the Program Evaluation Unit of Department of Premier and Cabinet. Our team is currently evaluating regional infrastructure programs funded by the NSW State Government. Prior to working with DPC, I worked for the Department of Primary Industries, ABARE and the Industry Commission... Read More →

avatar for Jess Dart

Jess Dart

CEO & Principal Consultant, Clear Horizon Consulting
Dr Jess Dart is the founder and CEO of Clear Horizon, an Australian-based specialist evaluation company. Having received the 2018 Outstanding Contribution to Evaluation Award from the Australian Evaluation Society (AES), Jess is a recognised leader with over 25 years of experience... Read More →
avatar for Stuart Raetz

Stuart Raetz

Stuart has over 10 years experience working as an M&E specialist in the Asia-Pacific region. He has consulted across a range of sectors including agriculture, natural resources, climate change, community development and emergency management and has experience working for and with... Read More →

Thursday September 20, 2018 3:00pm - 3:30pm AEST
Chancellor 6