The purpose of Norad's evaluations
1. To systematise knowledge of results and achievements with a view to improving similar measures in future (the learning
2. To consider whether a measure has been implemented as agreed and/or whether the anticipated results have been achieved (the control function/documentation)
Whether the main emphasis is on the learning function or the control/documentation function depends on the evaluation concerned. Passing on the knowledge gained to relevant decision-makers is an important instrument for influencing the design of future measures.
The goal of the Evaluation Department is to ensure that evaluation processes are participatory and inclusive, and to promote the greatest possible degree of learning. Consequently, a reference group is often established, comprising stakeholders, affected parties and, where appropriate, technical experts, technical departments and the Evaluation Department. The members of the reference group comment on the work that is done during the process. To the degree it is appropriate, the Evaluation Department also arranges seminars during the process and after it has been completed.
The evaluation programme
The Evaluation Department submits multi-year evaluation plans, which are prepared in consultation with relevant departments at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norwegian embassies and Norad. The evaluation programme must contain a brief explanation of the reasons for the evaluation, its purpose, target groups and which aspects the evaluation must cover in particular.
The aims of the evaluation process
- To evaluate the achievement of goals and results in relation to the original plans
- To evaluate whether the use of resources is commensurate with the results that are achieved
- To systematise the lessons learned in order to assure the quality of and improve future activities through good learning processes
- To provide information to the allocating authority and to the public at large
The evaluation process is designed to promote learning and gain experience from Norway's participation in international development cooperation and to hold the actors in Norwegian development policy administratively accountable. Individual evaluations may place different emphasis on these two aspects.
The selection of evaluation objects
The selection of evaluation objects must be based on three criteria set by the Ministry of Finance; risk, type and importance. This means the size and importance of the grant scheme, quality and scope, reporting, and the extent to which it is possible to describe the year-on-year results.
Each evaluation should normally shed light on the following:
Relevance: Is the activity relevant in relation to the goals and strategies of Norwegian development cooperation policy? Is the activity relevant in relation to the needs and priorities of the recipient country? Is it relevant to the development issue it is investigating?
Effectiveness: Have the primary goals of the activity been achieved? Have the planned results been achieved?
Sustainability: What is the long-term effect of the activity? Will it be possible to continue the activity after aid financing is no longer provided? Is there local ownership?
Efficiency: Can the investments and operating costs be justified? Could the same results have been achieved at less expense?
Impact: Positive and negative, primary and secondary long-term impacts of activities, direct or indirect, intended or unintended.
Objective, verifiable and transparent: Evaluations must be based on actual statements; statements must be based on reliable data or observations. Relevant stakeholders in Norway or the recipient country must be consulted in connection with the preparation and implementation of evaluations, including the preparation of the description of the assignment and the discussion on the draft report.
Impartial: Evaluations must provide a balanced presentation of strengths and weaknesses. To the extent stakeholders have differing views, they must be included in the evaluation.
Independent: Members of the evaluation team must not have been personally involved in the activities that are to be evaluated. The agencies that carry out evaluations must not have been involved in the preparation or implementation of activities.