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Building on what is already there: Africa launch of the Global Evaluation Initiative

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Participants of the Virtual Africa launch of the Global Evaluation Initiative
“The monitoring and evaluation process is essential for governance and the development of evidence-based policies,” announced Mozambique Vice Minster of Finance Dr. Carla Alexandra Oreste do Rosário Fernandes Louveir at the start of a virtual conference focused on the launch of the Global Evaluation Initiative and its potential role in Africa. “Monitoring and evaluation are powerful decision- Show More“The monitoring and evaluation process is essential for governance and the development of evidence-based policies,” announced Mozambique Vice Minster of Finance Dr. Carla Alexandra Oreste do Rosário Fernandes Louveir at the start of a virtual conference focused on the launch of the Global Evaluation Initiative and its potential role in Africa. “Monitoring and evaluation are powerful decision-making tools for managers,” added the Vice Minister. The Global Evaluation Initiative (GEI) brings together a broad and inclusive coalition of governments, citizens and experts to close a global gap in monitoring and evaluation capacities. According to a recent report, more than half of all countries now have high-quality national development strategies and almost all of them are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but only one third of them have data and systems to track implementation of their policies. Responding to an urgent need A sense of urgency was palpable during the launch event, “Evidence and the Road to 2030,” which brought together government and independent evaluation experts from across Africa, as well as representatives of international organizations and donor countries. The Sustainable Development Goals were already off track as the 10-year countdown to the 2030 Agenda began this year, and the COVID-19 pandemic is derailing them further, threatening to push millions into poverty. “We need reliable evidence to guide our path to economic recovery, “ said event participant Godfrey Mashamba, South Africa’s Deputy Director General of the Department of Planning and Monitoring and Evaluation. Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) can deliver invaluable evidence on what is working and what is not. They can be a powerful compass, helping governments learn from experience and use the lessons to adjust course, scale or target public policies more effectively. There is strong demand from countries in Africa and around the world to strengthen their M&E capacities as critical for rebuilding better from the pandemic and getting back on track to the SDGs. Linking national, regional and global knowledge GEI aims to respond to the demand by building on the capacities, experiences and knowledge of local actors and matching these with coordinated support and global knowledge, according to representatives of two organizations at the heart of the  partnership who spoke during the event: Alison Evans, Director-General of Evaluation at the World Bank Group, and Oscar A. Garcia, Director of the Independent Evaluation Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). For example, Cabo Verde, a small country of 10 islands off Western Africa, has many sources of data but does not yet have the institutional capacity to process and take advantage of this information, according to panelist Gilson Pina, National Director of Planning at the Cabo Verde Ministry of Finance. GEI will help train and build the capacities of staff to use the data of a new M&E platform that his planning department is building, Pina said. “The initiative’s goals coincide with our own goals,” Pina said during his intervention at the conference. Beyond building basic capacity, GEI should serve to “support a culture of evaluation” and encourage shared progress for African countries, said panelist Abdoulaye Gounou, Head of Benin’s Office for the Evaluation of Public Policies and Analysis of Government Action. “The partnership on evaluation is a very powerful tool for institutionalizing and promoting evaluation in our countries,” Gounou said. “We are learning through our peers and we are progressing together.” The partnership on evaluation is a very powerful tool for institutionalizing and promoting evaluation in our countries. We are learning through our peers and we are progressing together. Abdoulaye Gounou, Head of Benin’s Office for the Evaluation of Public Policies and Analysis of Government Action. Independent evaluators in Africa can also play a role in expanding M&E capacities in the region and developing African approaches to evaluation, said panelist Fazeela Hoosen, co-chair of the Young and Emerging Evaluators Network of the African Evaluation Association. As the next generation of evaluators, “Young and emerging evaluators are the ground or fertile soil to embed the seeds of what we have been talking about,” she said. Watch a re-play of the Africa Launch of the Global Evaluation Initiative {"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/Data/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/lA9WZ9aWxAg.jpg?itok=bALL_eQR","video_url":"https://youtu.be/lA9WZ9aWxAg?t=3734","settings":{"responsive":0,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (854x480)."]}   Regional and global cooperation GEI aims to collaborate with the diverse set of stakeholders involved in the development of M&E capacity, from government officials to independent evaluators, and to serve as a global platform for the curating and sharing of local and global M&E knowledge. The partnership has already been in touch with the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA), an umbrella organization for individual evaluators in countries that lack national evaluation associations, said panelist Rosetti Nabbumba of Uganda, president of AfrEA’s Board of Directors. GEI has begun talking with AfrEA about working together to compile a database of African evaluators. “I’m looking forward to a very collaborative arrangement,” with GEI, Nabbumba said. The Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) also has high expectations for GEI, with the hope that it will take the evaluation capacity agenda forward with a focus on country-led efforts according to panelist Pernilla Rafiqui, Sida’s Senior Program Manager for Capacity Development. Rafiqui described GEI as “both timely and well conceptualized,” and added, “we expect GEI to contribute toward better policies for better lives for poor and vulnerable people, and we very much look forward to making this happen.” In closing remarks, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, Ghana’s Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, emphasized the urgent need in the uncertain context of COVID-19 for robust M&E systems that enhance the chances of success of government policies. “The need for and use of evidence in support of decision-making have never been as important as it is now,” Dr. Osei said. “The required improvements in M&E need to be underpinned by what is already in place. The GEI is an example of that kind of strategy, in that it seeks to build on what is already there, and to operate collaboratively and through partnerships.” Learn more about GEI Watch the re-play of the launch event in English, French, or Portuguese.

Jamaica: Hurricane Dean Emergency Recovery Loan (PPAR)

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Jamaica is highly exposed to natural disasters. The negative impacts on economic development and social well-being are exacerbated as approximately 82 percent of Jamaica’s population lives within 5 kilometers of the coast, increasing the relative vulnerability of residents, major infrastructure, and the housing stock. Hurricane Dean made landfall in Jamaica on August 19, 2007, causing economic Show MoreJamaica is highly exposed to natural disasters. The negative impacts on economic development and social well-being are exacerbated as approximately 82 percent of Jamaica’s population lives within 5 kilometers of the coast, increasing the relative vulnerability of residents, major infrastructure, and the housing stock. Hurricane Dean made landfall in Jamaica on August 19, 2007, causing economic losses of roughly $329 million. The hurricane resulted in significant and extensive damage to primary and early childhood schools, community-based health clinics, and parochial and agricultural feeder roads in directly impacted parishes. In the aftermath of the hurricane, Jamaica’s Ministry of Finance confirmed that the recovery would require financial support from multiple sources, both national and international. In that context, the government of Jamaica approached the World Bank to support reconstruction works in poor communities affected by Hurricane Dean. The general aim was the reestablishment of prehurricane living conditions in these communities through the implementation of specific local infrastructure projects that would directly improve the conditions of the most vulnerable populations. Given the ongoing emergency, the World Bank and the government of Jamaica agreed to sign an emergency recovery loan to expedite the disbursement of resources. Additionally, the World Bank and the government of Jamaica agreed that the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) would be the implementing agency. Ratings for the Hurricane Dean Emergency Recovery Loan are as follows: Outcome was moderately satisfactory, Risk to development outcome was moderate, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, and Borrower performance was satisfactory. Lessons from this project include: (i) Using existing agencies with a proven track record can be an effective approach for implementing emergency response projects. (ii) When designing rehabilitation works, close consultation with users can ensure the provision of better services. (iii) Expectations need to be managed as there are limits to how much progress can be made on disaster risk reduction or emergency preparedness under an emergency operation.

The deepening and broadening discussion on assessing ‘Who Benefits?’ in evaluation practice

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High peak demand for energy in FYR Macedonia can result in power outages around the country. Here a young child does homework by lamplight in a home outside of Skopje. Photo: Tomislav Georgiev / World Bank
After attending the UNDP National Evaluation Capacities and the American Evaluation Association Conferences in 2019, I wrote a blog Are Evaluators Ready to Answer Question: Who Benefits? The answer was that increasingly evaluation practice was grappling with ‘Who Benefits’ through increasingly engaging with issues such as inequality, inequity, the differing impacts of climate change, and the Show MoreAfter attending the UNDP National Evaluation Capacities and the American Evaluation Association Conferences in 2019, I wrote a blog Are Evaluators Ready to Answer Question: Who Benefits? The answer was that increasingly evaluation practice was grappling with ‘Who Benefits’ through increasingly engaging with issues such as inequality, inequity, the differing impacts of climate change, and the role of youth. This year I attended the virtual American Evaluation Association (AEA) conference interested in how the debates on assessing benefits had developed. The theme of the AEA conference was ‘How Will You Shine Your Light’, which relates to the idea that evaluators shine their light for the purpose of “improving conditions for others to shine theirs”. Throughout, the conference focused on equity, the fair distribution of benefits. The presidential track of the conference reflected on equity through discussions on restorative practice, racism in qualitative practice, disability in evaluation, community-based foresight practices, climate change and presenting a framework for assessing community harmony. Outside of the presidential strand, presentations also focused on gender equity, equity-based policy advocacy and equity and inclusion. The emergence of equity as a major theme in evaluation practice reflects trends where evaluation gatherings embrace a diversity of perspectives, including indigenous, youth and social justice perspectives. Many of the presentations at the conference reflected critically on approaches to engage marginalized groups and called for more context specific and culturally appropriate methods. Some of the interesting resources that I would reference again as I develop evaluations were related to youth, the rubric developed to measure love, equity in data science and foresight techniques. Doing No Harm in Evaluation Harm is not a word that evaluators have engaged with deeply very often. The presenters of this Think Tank initially came together to reflect on harm in evaluation practice when organizations that were meant to protect rights but caused harm were exposed. Over a period of two years we have further understood that evaluation can cause harm through its: handling of allegations of sexual exploitation; inaccurate findings; privileging of voices; myopically focusing on donor values; careless storing of data; cultural insensitivity; and not evaluating harm. This think tank introduces these issues and seeks to identify where our principles and standards need updating to better reflect the potential for harm. The Think Tank will engage participants in a participatory reflection process aimed to develop adaptations for where our principles are found wanting. My understanding of the ‘Who Benefits’ question was especially deepened in facilitating a Think Tank entitled Doing No Harm in Evaluation that drew on a two-year action learning process. Discussing harm is the ‘shadow’ of the equity and benefits discussions, as one of our discussants highlighted. Evaluators and project managers who have the best of intentions and seek to diversify who, what and how benefits accrue can do harm – think of abuse in humanitarian settings. In debating harm, the participants went beyond concerns with ethics panels and informed consent. They questioned how harm could be caused by funding and commissioning mechanisms, a tendency to drop into contexts with limited preparation, and the answering of questions that were defined far from intended beneficiaries. Emerging research that was presented within the Think Tank made the argument that in evaluation there is inherent reductionism and carcerality, which requires changing listening practices, reciprocity with knowledge, and undertaking truth-telling on harm. The online chat during the think tank produced just less than 300 comments in 45 minutes. In Interpreting these afterward the following five themes emerged: Trade-Offs – In identifying who benefits, harm is embedded. Consequently, trade-offs between benefit and harm should be acknowledged in the evaluation processes, for example, in the (i) methods deployed; (ii) scope of the evaluation; (iii) engagement with commissioners; (iv)  management process. Reflexivity – Evaluators hold a position of privilege in defining benefit and should give attention and attend to personal growth in their own judgements, beliefs and practices as benefits can be defined in diverse ways. Trauma informed and restorative practices – Identifying who benefits may also bring an evaluation into contact with past traumas. Trauma-informed and restorative practices arose as approaches to help account and tell the truth on the harms of past practice while providing a framework to help manage trade-offs in current evaluation practice. Inclusivity – To understand who benefits requires improvements in h who evaluation practice includes, through listening skills and incorporating feedback loops. Creating space for listening will require responding to new and unexpected information on diverse perspectives. Transformative lens – Working with a transformative evaluation perspective helps to identify different benefits and harms by reinforcing attention to voice and liberation in discussions. Transformation provides potentially a useful ethical principle in reframing practice to better respond to harm. These themes and the discussions presented here reflect a small part of exchanges on equity that evaluators engaged in during the conference. Terms such as trade-offs, reciprocity, restorative, reflexivity, transformative are increasingly eminent in evaluation practice and represent a deepening discussion amongst evaluators to engage with ‘Who Benefits?’   Pictured above: High peak demand for energy in FYR Macedonia can result in power outages around the country. Here a young child does homework by lamplight in a home outside of Skopje. Photo: Tomislav Georgiev / World Bank

How can teachers continue to grow and contribute to quality learning outcomes?

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Pictured above: A teacher with his students in class Kenya, April 2017 Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
The first two blogs in this series discussed the importance of good teachers and how such teachers are “made” by quality training, both before they enter the profession and while they are practicing it. The second blog specifically discussed factors that support preservice training and how these factors are reflected in projects supported by the World Bank Group. In this final blog of the series Show MoreThe first two blogs in this series discussed the importance of good teachers and how such teachers are “made” by quality training, both before they enter the profession and while they are practicing it. The second blog specifically discussed factors that support preservice training and how these factors are reflected in projects supported by the World Bank Group. In this final blog of the series, we look at World Bank Group assistance for in-service training, which can be vital to supplement and improve teachers’ instructional practices and knowledge. We also look at how quality can be maintained and sustained when scaling up pilot training programs, a frequent undertaking in World Bank Group projects. The argument for supporting in-service training Even where preservice teacher training is high-quality, in-service training is needed to ensure that teachers are up-to date with the latest in pedagogy and changes in curricula. Where preservice training is of variable quality, in-service training can be even more critical for efforts to improve learning outcomes for students. World Bank Group task team leaders (TTLs) interviewed for IEG's recent report, Selected Drivers of Education Quality: Pre- and In-Service Teacher Training said that programs should address both preservice and in-service systems to ensure greater overall alignment. IEG’s analysis suggests that projects approved more recently are beginning to take this dual approach. This is important, because while the two systems are conceptually different, they are linked. If preservice training is inadequate, in-service training is needed to address shortcomings in teachers’ pedagogical and content knowledge. In the second blog, we noted that intervening in preservice training can be challenging, due to sensitivities in the political economy and government reluctance to invest in this training. Perhaps for these and other reasons, the World Bank Group has engaged more often to support in-service training. In fact, 68 of the 110 projects approved under the supervision of its Education Global Practice between fiscal year 2013 and FY18 with some element of support for the professional development of teachers exclusively supported in-service training. How World Bank Group support reflects characteristics of quality in-service training IEG’s review of the literature found four essential features of quality in-service training: adequate duration, discipline-specific content, active and applied learning based on teachers’ needs and capacity, and follow-up support to provide opportunities for feedback and reflection. Adequate duration. In-service training in projects supported by the World Bank Group met at least the minimum requirement for duration. Where data were available, IEG found that projects generally supported 50–60 hours of training over 5–20 days, typically at a time when students were on recess. This aligns with expected minimums for such training in the literature. Discipline-specific content. In-service training supported by the World Bank Group tended to focus more on pedagogical training and less on subject matter training, which may be associated with the need to address shortcomings in preservice preparation. In line with findings from the literature, TTLs interviewed by IEG recognized a need for greater focus on discipline-specific content, given the often-limited capacity of teachers to teach numeracy, literacy, and science. Active learning. Effective in-service training is characterized by a focus on teachers’ ability to foster skills such as critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. IEG’s fieldwork confirmed this broader focus in World Bank Group-supported in-service training. For example, an impact evaluation found that teacher training in fostering these skills provided under the Vietnam Escuela Nueva Project contributed to a positive effect on the socioemotional skills of children enrolled in supported schools. Consistent with TTL reports, IEG also found some training programs that embodied adult learning principles but, overall, an uneven application of learning that addressed adult learning styles, which suggests room for improvement in this area. Follow-up support. Changes in approach demanded of teachers can be significant and are seldom simple, and teachers often start at a disadvantage due to their skill levels and gaps in their preservice training. TTLs interviewed by IEG recognized the importance of coaching/mentoring and reported that they were being encouraged to include coaching in operations. Fieldwork identified some cases where participation of teachers from the same school or grade level in training was encouraged to promote peer learning or collaborative work as part of workshops, or a cascade approach to in-service training. But this was not systematic, which suggests a need for greater commitment by all stakeholders to enhance training through more sustained follow-up. Effective scaling-up of successful projects The literature suggests that effective in-service training needs to reflect key features of the enabling environment (such as management, governance, and finance), and that training can be more effective when it is part of a larger reform effort and is aligned with standards and assessment and embedded in the local curriculum. Awareness of these and other factors is particularly important when considering the scaling up of training programs. Less complex forms of scaling up that focus on enlargement or increased numbers of programs without seeking to affect systems—known as horizontal scaling—typically require fewer and less intensive conditions for success. IEG case studies found that projects supported by the World Bank Group typically pursued horizontal scaling and have done so successfully—albeit supported by elements of local capacity that might not be equally available in less-developed countries. For example, scaling of training in Ghana under the Untrained Teachers Diploma in Basic Education project was implemented by teacher colleges and supported by improved certification requirements and data on the numbers of unqualified teachers. However, horizontal scaling that increases the breadth of training coverage without ensuring the depth and sustainability of the training engagement is less likely to achieve long-term changes in teaching practices. Most projects explored by IEG had no plan to extend training, particularly funding, beyond the life of the project. This may be associated with the World Bank Group’s short-term, project-based funding model. More involved, complex, and systemic scaling—known as vertical scaling—requires time and sustained attention and must be supported by influential champions and resources. Notably, the six cases of vertical training explored by IEG showed evidence that targets had been met for teachers trained in all cases, but the training was sustained by the government in only one instance. This brings us to the end of the series, and we thank you for staying the course! The core lesson is that good teachers and good teaching underpin quality learning outcomes, which are central to any education system and critical to human development. For more detail, including data and literature reviews, please visit Selected Drivers of Education Quality: Pre- and In-Service Teacher Training.   Pictured above: A teacher with his students in class Kenya, April 2017 Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch

Management Action Record Reform: IEG’s Validation Report

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Management Action Record Reform: IEG’s Validation Report
The Management Action Record (MAR) is a key element of the World Bank Group’s accountability framework. This document summarizes recent MAR reforms and validates management’s self-assessment.The Management Action Record (MAR) is a key element of the World Bank Group’s accountability framework. This document summarizes recent MAR reforms and validates management’s self-assessment.

What is the best way to train teachers before they start teaching?

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A third year student at ENI-NKTT (L'Ecole Normale des Instituteurs de Nouakchott) teaches a fourth grade Arabic class at Ecole Annexe primary school; Nouakchott, Mauritania. Credit GPE/Kelley Lynch
The first blog in this series discussed the importance of good teachers and how such teachers are “made.” It also examined factors underpinning quality teacher training, a critical driver of quality learning that is, in turn, a key outcome for any education system. This time, again drawing on a recent report by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), Selected Drivers of Education Quality: Pre- Show MoreThe first blog in this series discussed the importance of good teachers and how such teachers are “made.” It also examined factors underpinning quality teacher training, a critical driver of quality learning that is, in turn, a key outcome for any education system. This time, again drawing on a recent report by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), Selected Drivers of Education Quality: Pre- and In-Service Teacher Training, we focus on the World Bank Group’s support for initial or preservice teacher training, what it has emphasized, and what may require more emphasis to align with the literature and evidence. The scale of support for preservice teacher training Between fiscal year 2013 and FY18, more than half (110 of 207) projects approved under the supervision of the World Bank Group’s Education Global Practice provided some support for the professional development of teachers. The majority supported in-service teacher training (the subject of the third blog in this series) and 40 supported the more complex area of preservice training, that is, from the initial stages of teachers’ career to their entry into the profession. World Bank Group task team leaders (TTLs) interviewed by IEG for this report explained that the greater emphasis on in-service training was principally due to obstacles and constraints that can arise with preservice training. These include sensitive and complex political economy issues related to preservice institutions, as well as the much larger investment of time and resources required to intervene in such training, which government clients are often unwilling to take on. It should be noted that teacher training projects—like World Bank Group–supported education projects more generally—are implemented more often in low- and lower-middle-income countries, where the need is greatest. How projects engage with the factors that support quality preservice training Among the 40 World Bank Group operations that supported preservice training, 70 percent (28 projects) focused on coursework and had a lesser focus on the other three factors—screening mechanisms, practicums or “practice teaching” and quality assurance. All of these consistently have been identified as key elements that support quality delivery of training. One project addressed all four factors, as shown in the figure. Screening mechanisms. The literature is clear that the use of various quality screening mechanisms across all teacher training tends to support quality learning outcomes. For example, in the Dominican Republic Support to the National Education Pact, an assessment of candidates’ capabilities was used at their entry into preservice training to tailor programs and otherwise provide remediation when candidates did not have the competencies to successfully participate in available training. In most of the nine World Bank Group operations that addressed screening, preservice institutions often relied on a single requirement for entry, such as level of completed education. This most likely reflected a desire not to deter candidates in situations where student enrollments were growing. Thirteen of the operations referred to interventions designed to improve the attractiveness of the teaching profession, a positive step toward ensuring a longer-term pipeline of quality candidates into the profession. Coursework. Among the 28 operations that addressed coursework, IEG’s report found a mostly balanced attention to subject matter and pedagogical skills. Attention to both clearly is important, as even the basics of content and teacher preparation cannot be assumed in poor countries. Recent World Bank Group Service Delivery Indicator studies found that few primary teachers demonstrated mastery of primary-level content—a finding also highlighted by IEG’s analysis. Thus, the initial selection mechanisms have far-reaching consequences for teacher coursework, because a more capable trainee cadre is likely to already have completed higher-level coursework in the subject matter. While coursework must be grounded in relevant curricula, it also needs to be delivered by qualified teacher educators who can impart relevant skills over an adequate time period, backed up by suitable materials. About half of the 40 operations provided some capacity development to teacher educators that was focused on pedagogical methods. About 70 percent supported soft infrastructure, including teaching materials such as textbooks, videos, and information and communication technology, and half of the projects financed infrastructure or renovations for preservice training institutions. Practicums. Among the 15 World Bank Group projects that focused on practicums, the intensity of support varied and that variation also was observed in data analysis. For example, among Latin American countries participating in the Third Regional Comparative and Explanatory Study, extremely low percentages of teachers reported a practicum as part of their training in some Central American countries, in comparison with countries in South America. World Bank Group support for practicums was extensive in some instances, such as the Mauritania Basic Education Sector Support Project in Africa. However, in interviews, TTLs described the approach to practicums in many low-income countries as “sink or swim,” in which trainees were given too much autonomy too soon and without a qualified mentor. In these cases, there is a need for clearer national policy that defines practicum features, as well as systematic guidance about responsibilities for both the teacher training centers and the schools where the practice takes place. Quality assurance. The literature and available data showed that countries with weak accreditation systems either had no effective control over training institutions or relied on voluntary participation mechanisms. TTLs concurred and noted that countries may have had no accreditation mechanism, or that those in place often were subjected to political interference. TTLs cautioned against accrediting a flawed system. They espoused instead effective monitoring and accreditation mechanisms that regulate providers of teacher education programs, to ensure their adherence to training standards and to remove political influences. These mechanisms also can regulate entrance and exit examinations to ensure quality. Next: In-service training One consequence of the low quality of preservice training systems is the need to use in-service training to compensate for underprepared or unqualified teachers. In the final blog in this series, we will look at World Bank Group support for in-service training and at the factors relevant to scaling up teacher training programs that, in their pilot phase, showed promise. Read IEG's report: Selected Drivers of Education Quality: Pre- and In-Service Teacher Training Pictured above: A third year student at ENI-NKTT (L'Ecole Normale des Instituteurs de Nouakchott) teaches a fourth grade Arabic class at Ecole Annexe primary school; Nouakchott, Mauritania.Credit GPE/Kelley Lynch

Evaluation of the World Bank Group’s support for electricity supply from renewable energy resources, 2000–2017

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Pictured above: Ain Beni Mathar Integrated Combined Cycle Thermo-Solar Power Plant. Photo credit: Dana Smillie / World Bank
This evaluation assesses the performance of the World Bank Group (WBG) in its support to electricity production from renewable energy resources in client countries over the period 2000 to 2017.This evaluation assesses the performance of the World Bank Group (WBG) in its support to electricity production from renewable energy resources in client countries over the period 2000 to 2017.

Ukraine Country Program Evaluation (Approach Paper)

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Ukraine has significant economic potential, but over the past decade economic growth has been slow and highly volatile. A lower-middle-income country with a population of 44 million and a per-capita gross national income of $2,660 in 2018, Ukraine is endowed with a well-educated and entrepreneurial population, vast areas of fertile land, other natural resources, and a geographic location at the Show MoreUkraine has significant economic potential, but over the past decade economic growth has been slow and highly volatile. A lower-middle-income country with a population of 44 million and a per-capita gross national income of $2,660 in 2018, Ukraine is endowed with a well-educated and entrepreneurial population, vast areas of fertile land, other natural resources, and a geographic location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.2 Ukraine aspires to join the European Union (EU), but after decades of stagnation, income per capita remains far below that of its neighbors and comparators. The primary goal of this Country Program Evaluation (CPE) is to assess the development effectiveness of World Bank Group support to Ukraine between fiscal years (FY)12 and FY20. A key focus of the CPE will be to examine how well the Bank Group adapted its support to Ukraine’s changing circumstances over the evaluation period and helped build resilience in the face of major crises. The CPE is also expected to provide strategic insights for the preparation of the next Ukraine Country Partnership Framework (CPF), scheduled for FY22.

Ethiopia: Sustainable Land Management Project I and II (PPAR)

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Serious long-term degradation of communal areas and farmlands results in substantial losses to the economy. The combination of fragile soils, steep slopes, agroclimatic conditions, environmentally unsustainable intensification of agriculture, and traditional cultivation techniques practiced by smallholder farmers in Ethiopia over many decades has led to excessive soil erosion and land degradation Show MoreSerious long-term degradation of communal areas and farmlands results in substantial losses to the economy. The combination of fragile soils, steep slopes, agroclimatic conditions, environmentally unsustainable intensification of agriculture, and traditional cultivation techniques practiced by smallholder farmers in Ethiopia over many decades has led to excessive soil erosion and land degradation. Two sequential projects were designed and implemented to achieve the SLMP’s objectives. Sustainable Land Management Project Phase I (SLMP I) introduced SLM practices in selected areas of the country to rehabilitate previously uneconomical and unproductive degraded areas within 45 critical watersheds situated in six regional states. SLMP II sought to scale up this support by expanding the geographical coverage to 135 watersheds and continued addressing poor farmland management practices, rapid depletion of vegetation cover, unsustainable livestock grazing practices, and land tenure insecurity. SLMP II also sought to integrate new activities targeting land productivity, deforestation, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Ratings for the Sustainable Land Management Project I are as follows: Overall outcome is satisfactory, Risk to development outcomes is moderate, Bank performance is moderately satisfactory, Borrower performance is moderately satisfactory, and Quality of M&E is negligible. For Sustainable Land Management Project II, they are as follows: Overall outcome is satisfactory, Overall efficacy is substantial, Bank performance is moderately satisfactory, and Quality of M&E is modest. Lessons from these projects include: (i) Watershed management programs can lead to significant land restoration outcomes when appropriate structural and biological measures are introduced to treat the affected landscape with active participation of the local community. (ii) Area closures are relevant for the restoration of degraded lands but require increased investments for alternative supply of forages to convince the local communities to forgo livestock grazing and other benefits during the process of natural regeneration. (iii) Farm productivity growth requires arresting both the on-site and off-site soil erosion to prevent the degradation of farmlands and enable investments in modern farm inputs. (iv) Effective demonstration of upfront economic and livelihood benefits is fundamental for smallholder farmers to protect and maintain the SLM practices introduced on their lands through project support. (v) In drought-prone areas, small-scale irrigation is the key enabler for translating the benefits of land restoration into reduction in household vulnerability to climate shocks through income diversification and protection against droughts. (vi) Market-oriented agroforestry interventions (for example, Acacia decurrens) that provide sustainable income for smallholders can be vital ingredients in creating incentives for the adoption of biological measures for land restoration and improving household resilience to climate shocks.

Evidence as a guide in uncertain times - IEG in 2020

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Evidence as a guide in uncertain times
As the World Bank Group responded to the emerging pandemic, the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) quickly realigned its work program to focus on the new priorities. Our capacity to adapt and provide insights relevant to the unfolding crisis was largely determined by two key factors: A reform process launched earlier in the year to increase our agility and ability to innovate, and a large body of Show MoreAs the World Bank Group responded to the emerging pandemic, the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) quickly realigned its work program to focus on the new priorities. Our capacity to adapt and provide insights relevant to the unfolding crisis was largely determined by two key factors: A reform process launched earlier in the year to increase our agility and ability to innovate, and a large body of evidence built over years of evaluation.  We immediately set to mining this body of evidence to identify lessons from past global crises to help inform the Bank Group’s pandemic response. What began with a synthesis of lessons drawn from evaluations of Bank Group responses to Ebola, Avian Flu and other public health crises, led to a demand for evidence to inform a variety of other decisions, such as what worked best during past crises to support the private sector or reach the most vulnerable with social protection measures. These lessons are now collected in a library as a resource for the range of development actors and policymakers coping with the multiple consequences of the pandemic. A library that we add to continually as new challenges appear. While evaluation necessarily requires looking backwards to assess what has worked, the evidence gathered plays a vital role in mapping out what needs to be done to stay on track or adjust course. This has been especially challenging in the fast changing environment created by the pandemic, where restrictions on movement has placed severe limitations on the way we conventionally collect evidence and engage with stakeholders. Yet in uncertain times, more data is needed, not less, and maintaining the cycle of feedback, learning and course correction is even more crucial. As the World Bank Group and other development organizations moved quickly to launch bold programs to address the impacts of the pandemic, evaluators have had to act with equal agility to orient what they do and how they do it to the ‘new normal’.  That same agility is needed as we shift our focus to assessing the early results of the response, coupled with innovation to identify new sources of data and forms of engagement. With the pandemic hitting the most vulnerable the hardest, and threatening to drive millions into extreme poverty, it is essential that we provide our counterparts driving the pandemic response with robust evidence on what is working and for whom. {"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/Data/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/wPlEjy-ufDE.jpg?itok=IdjjxA09","video_url":"https://youtu.be/wPlEjy-ufDE","settings":{"responsive":0,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (854x480)."]} At the start of the last financial year, before the pandemic changed everything, IEG had launched an extensive internal process to assess the alignment of our work with World Bank Group priorities. This involved a review of our products and listening carefully to counterparts, to determine whether we were delivering the right evaluative evidence at the right time to maximize learning and contribute to greater development effectiveness. Early feedback revealed a demand for more just-in-time evidence to inform decision-making alongside insights on longer-term development challenges.  We responded with reforms to increase our flexibility, developing a work program mapped to World Bank Group priorities but with enough room to respond to changing circumstances and emerging demands. We also focused on the need for innovation, in the use of new methods and technologies to provide real-time data while retaining a clear line of sight to the Bank Group’s twin goals and the Sustainable Development Goals. Even before the advent of COVID-19, IEG had begun innovating with a diverse set of new technologies to gather data from drones to geo-mapping and machine learning to increase our capacity for mining data across a broader range of data platforms and resources.  Once the pandemic struck, our internal process took on added significance and IEG has drawn on the reforms to increase our agility, diversify our approaches and face up to a new set of unprecedented development challenges.  To address these and many other challenges posed by the pandemic, IEG drew on lessons learned from evaluating in fragile and conflict-affected settings and taking on board the merits of emergent learning in times of increased uncertainty. We prepared guidelines for adapting evaluation methods in current circumstances, from remote missions to tackling ethical and data protection challenges.   Much like its internal reforms, IEG support to partner countries to build up their monitoring and evaluation capacities has also taken on added significance. With a growing number of countries basing their national development strategies on the Sustainable Development Goals, there has been increasing demand for help with developing their ability to gather evidence and use it to chart a path forward and monitor their progress. IEG has been coordinating with a broad range of countries and organizations to establish a partnership capable of meeting the scale of this demand. The pandemic has reinforced the urgency of this initiative, as the lack of robust evaluation systems leaves many countries blind, without the capacity for evidence-informed policies to cope with the health and economic shocks of the coronavirus.   Going forward, IEG will continue to build on the reforms launched earlier this year. We will continue to invest in strong relationships with counterparts even as we cannot meet in person and find ways to dive deeper into data even as collecting new information poses a challenge. We also remain committed to supporting our partner countries build their capacity for monitoring and evaluation. While we still have much to learn about performing the evaluative function in these challenging times, IEG is committed to approaching the problem with agility, flexibility, and innovation. To learn more about IEG’s FY20 programs and evaluations, read this year’s annual report.