Caroline Heider was the second Director General of Evaluation (2011-2018) and Vice President of the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG).  Before joining IEG, Ms. Heider headed the Office of Evaluation at the World Food Program. She has also held leading positions in the evaluation offices of the Asian Development Bank and several UN agencies, including the International Fund for Agriculture Development, the UN Development Program, and UN Industrial Development Organization.

Importance of independence in evaluation  

 "Independent evaluation plays an important role to raise issues that other people might not raise. ... Independence helps us to look at these issues and report on them where systemic changes are needed.

Learning from evidence

"All our evaluation work is aimed at helping the World Bank Group understand what is working well and why so that success can be repeated, and what is not working and why, and how can problems either be fixed or certain programs not be repeated so that we stop wasting time and resources." 

Making an impact

"The key to our ability to influence change is to engage with audiences that could (and should) learn from our evaluations. In IEG, with have employed multiple avenues to reach our audiences and share evaluation insights in constructive and useful ways. In doing so, we have been mindful of different needs of diverse audiences."

External Engagement and Evaluation Capacity Development

"Here are a couple of ingredients that have proven effective - through action research and validated through evaluation - for capacity development:

  • Drive from Within: ownership, leadership, and collective action. Leading countries such as Mexico and South Africa have invested in evaluation capacity for some time. They are being joined by others, who are now recognizing the importance of evaluation in increasing their development effectiveness. The advocacy work of this year has enhanced awareness of the usefulness of evaluation as a tool for decision-makers rather than a donor requirement. This is important to find champions, who can promote evaluation within countries and network with likeminded policy-makers.
  • Participatory Diagnostics: understanding capacity gaps and needs together. Participatory diagnostics are a deliberate process of understanding what capacity is desired and needed, where the weaknesses lie, and how they can be overcome. The diagnostic phase becomes, if done in participatory manner, already part of the process to develop capacities. Evaluations of capacity development have, however, shown that diagnostics are done as expert opinions and result in blueprints that are not necessary understood, shared, or owned by those whose capacities are to be developed.
  • Order Chaos: having a plan, and the ability to deviate from it when opportunities arise. Probably the most complicated aspect of capacity development is that there is a need for clear commitments to outcomes - capacities that should exist at the end - and the flexibility to adjust constantly as opportunities or obstacles arise. For instance, a change in stakeholders might bring in a champion and free up resources that were earmarked for advocacy. Instead, these could be reprogrammed to help build institutional systems.

This level of sophistication of capacity development requires strong ownership within countries. And, I would argue that this will be the only way to integrate the many inputs from bilateral, multilateral, and non-governmental partners who are supporting evaluation capacity development in various ways.

What's next? Getting some countries already committed to evaluation to lead the way and demonstrate how it can be done, and dialogue with the next wave of countries ready to engage on this journey."