1.1. How to maintain evaluation quality in times of COVID-19?
Regardless of a lot of hardships and limits in evaluation in times of COVID-19, it is obliged to keep good evaluation quality. Thus, we need to find a way how to maintain good quality of evaluation.
In times of COVID-19, there are several limits in executing evaluations. For example, it is hard to have field visits, meet beneficiaries and etc. However, evaluation is an important process in each development agency, so it should meet certain quality and criteria enough to circulate the result within the agency for decision making and publicize the performance of the programs externally. Thus, we need to think about what it will be the ways of evaluation and how we can effectively substitute traditional ways of evaluation in zero contact times.
How can we maintain the evaluation quality in times of COVID-19?
1.2. What is “good-enough” evidence for an evaluation?
Our world is going through unexpected changes that are affecting the health and livelihoods of society. We as evaluators have a role to play in providing evidence to our leaders – how can we ensure that it is given with good-enough rigour?
In the hackathon, we can discuss the possible approaches, methods and tools that we evaluators can deploy in these challenging times, paying particular attention to ensuring a sufficient level of rigour in the triangulation of data and its analysis. Part of the conversation could focus on what would be a “good-enough” approach to do evaluations, in response to the question: Which are the minimum levels of evidence and analyses that are required for an evaluation to be true to its purpose? (See below reference to the UNEG Norms and Standards!)
A discussion on new/emerging methods and tools such as remote sensing, big data and remote surveys can follow suit, with a focus on the pros- and cons- of the different options available. This can respond to a question on which innovative approaches we can apply to ensure sufficient rigour.
Finally, during the hackathon we could discuss on how we evaluators should also change, and do these differently, not just in view of the ongoing changes but also on the long-term transformations needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and use the opportunity provided by the covid-19 crisis to design and implement a better world for all.
Key actors: Youth would be expected to bring their voices and innovative/outside-the-box thinking into the discussion. Experts could act as resource persons guiding discussions on specific methods and tools. Both youth and experts can also act as facilitators and committed participants.
References: 2030 Agenda: Sustainable Development Goals. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300
2017 UNEG Norms and Standards for Evaluation. http://www.unevaluation.org/document/download/2787 * STANDARD 4.5 calls for “Evaluation methodologies to be sufficiently rigorous such that the evaluation responds to the scope and objectives, is designed to answer evaluation questions and leads to a complete, fair and unbiased assessment.”
2020 UNEG Compendium of evaluation methods applied in the United Nations (to be published in June 2020) * The compendium will highlight seven methods used by evaluation units of the UN with a focus on their application at global, national and country levels.
Which are the minimum levels of evidence and analyses that are required for an evaluation to be true to its purpose?
Which innovative approaches, methods and tools can be applied to ensure sufficient rigour?
What can/should we do differently, both in the short- and long-term?