Consequences for evaluation activities as a result of Covid-19
Restrictions imposed because of the Covid-19 crisis have led to changes in the way evaluation work can be conducted. Covid-19 has caused changes in the aid implementation, and this raises new questions related to what to evaluate in Norwegian aid.
Ongoing and planned evaluations
The recently launched evaluation programme from the Evaluation Department will be continuously adjusted based on demands and relevance. In the current situation, it will be particularly relevant to consider whether evaluations, results monitoring, and analytical work related to the various aid initiatives aimed at the Covid-19 crisis should be initiated, to ensure that the initiatives are relevant and adapted to the crises.
Changes in the work situation, both in Norway and internationally, has resulted in travel restrictions, and use of home offices. This applies to the Evaluation Department's staff, to the consultants and researchers in the evaluation teams, to stakeholders in various parts of the aid administration and to others the department want to reach in different parts of the world. This has implications for the approach and the methodology in the evaluation process and for how the department present and discuss findings and recommendations from the reports.
For the evaluation projects already in progress today, the Evaluation Department is in dialogue with the evaluation teams to make the necessary adjustments. The coming evaluations of Norway’s aid concentration and of Norway’s anti-corruption efforts will be completed in May and presented at webinars in June. The evaluation of Norwegian engagement in Somalia and the synthesis studies of aid evaluations in Uganda, Ghana, Niger, Indonesia and Colombia will be completed before the summer, but the presentations will be postponed until autumn 2020.
For evaluations that have not yet started, we are adjusting the assignments and making alternative plans for data collection. For example, evaluations are now being planned without data collection at country level or with data collection conducted by local consultants. This applies to the evaluation of NICFI’s Support to Private Sector Initiatives, Norway’s inclusion of persons with disabilities, and evaluation of Norwegian development co-operation in the fisheries sector. However, the evaluations are scheduled to be completed according to schedule in 2021.
The Evaluation Department has participated in several discussions in the international evaluation community to discuss issues around Covid-19 and evaluation. As the head of the evaluation network in the OECD Development Committee (EvalNet), Evaluation Director Per Øyvind Bastøe has invited EvalNet's members, and colleagues in the evaluation units of the UN organisations (UNEG) and the development banks (ECG), to a webinar on this issue. The result of the discussion was summarised in a note prepared in collaboration with the Independent Evaluation Office of UNDP: Good Practices during Covid-19.
Bastøe has also, in collaboration with the two co-chairs of EvalNet, prepared a blog post on important lessons learned from work in previous crises, which was published on OECD’s blog Development Matters: Covid-19 and Development Co-operation: we know a lot about what works, let’s use the evidence.