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A Bridge to the Future

Chapter 4 | Expanding Pathways: Evaluation Capacity Development


Credit: Rafe H. Andrews / DAWNING.

Credit: Rafe H. Andrews / DAWNING.

FY21 marks a new age in evaluation capacity development for IEG and the evaluation community as a whole. The launch of the Global Evaluative Initiative is an exciting step toward stronger and better coordinated support for monitoring systems and capacities worldwide.

The Birth of a New Partnership

According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nations Development Programme, only one-third of countries have data and systems to track the implementation of their policies. Most have fragmented data, no ability to report statistics in a timely manner, and unevenness in individual and organizational capacities to carry out M&E duties. Because of these acknowledged weaknesses, the global demand for better M&E systems and capacities is growing.

IEG, along with other donor partners, established the GEI. GEI’s goal is to find better ways to address country M&E challenges by increasing coordination among national and international initiatives, thereby leveraging experiences and lessons learned from institutions working to build M&E capacities.


GEI brings together governments, citizens, and experts to support countries in strengthening monitoring and evaluation frameworks and capacities. It helps create a world where evidence is used to increase transparency and make better decisions to improve lives.

How Does GEI Work?

GEI supports evaluation capacity development (ECD) in developing countries by fostering evidence-informed decision-making through enhanced M&E frameworks, capacity, and use. GEI’s central aim is to strengthen the M&E frameworks (legal and regulatory environment, systems, and practices) and capacities (skills) of governments and other stakeholders in developing countries and the use of M&E evidence by these stakeholders, by establishing a global partnership of ECD providers and experts supported by the donor-financed GEI trust fund.

Why Is IEG Supporting GEI?

Recognizing the challenges of M&E, and the general underfunding and fragmentation of ECD initiatives, IEG presented to donors the idea of working together to pool their technical and financial resources, in collaboration with a wider network of ECD partners and implementers.

In providing oversight of the GEI program, IEG brings its evaluation expertise, global credibility, and connection with the evaluation offices of partner agencies and the international community of professional evaluators.

GEI fits into IEG’s formal ECD mandate to “work closely with development partners and member countries in order to foster international evaluation harmonization, to develop evaluation capacity in member countries, and to encourage best practice in international development evaluation.”

GEI seeks to support governments and organizations at the national (and subnational) levels on a demand-driven basis, so that monitoring and evaluation systems are both tailored to country needs and firmly led and owned by country stakeholders.—Alison Evans, Director-General, Evaluation, IEG

Collaboration for Success We really want to build on the idea that managing complexity and navigating uncertainty is an exercise in collaboration, building on one another’s strengths, and crowdingin excellence. We have been entrusted with some resources by a group of thoughtful donors, and we are very committed to demonstrating that, by building strong partnerships, we can do more together than we can working separately. Dugan Fraser program manager, GEI


GEI partners with technical collaborators such as the Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) and the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET), two established pillars for evaluation capacity and development support. In working with local partners connected globally, a foundational priority for GEI is to work gLocally. In practice, GEI partners work across countries, languages, and other contexts to promote global lessons that can be used and adapted to local contexts and local lessons that can be shared globally. Importantly, GEI’s partners recognize that experiences and lessons exist in global and local contexts and their usefulness is multidirectional.

In June 2021, GEI and its implementing partner, the CLEAR initiative, organized the annual gLOCAL Evaluation Week. The overall theme of the events was “Building Forward Better,” and events covered evaluation methods, ECD, and evaluation communication and use.

GEI also partnered with the IPDET to kick off an annual workshop series in May 2021. Topics included digital analytics for M&E, national evaluation in the public service, the geo-enabling initiative for monitoring and supervision, and theory-based causal analysis. Participants came from around the world and represented United Nations agencies, think tanks, academia, ministries, regional and multilateral development organizations, and voluntary organizations for professional evaluation. Of the 225 participants, 80 received scholarships to attend and 59 percent were women.