Program Evaluation in the Field of International Development : Bridging Perspectives

University essay from Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi; Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi

Abstract: Program evaluation has carved out its value in the International Development (ID) sector as the way that International Non-Governmental Organization (INGOs) report program performance, and more importantly learn on how to improve for future programs. Its rise to prominence has been an evolution between the traditional, outcomes and participatory evaluation paradigms.   Although program evaluation is regarded as a function of management, Project Management (PM) as a discipline has been scarcely part of ID’s growth and virtually non-existent when it comes to program evaluation. In fact, although ID is a project-based sector, it largely developed its own PM practices, independent from the PM discipline. The developments of PM in ID can also be viewed in paradigm shifts from the conventional, people-centered right down to critical approaches. The only exception to this has been the creation of PM4NGOs in 2011 – a PM association geared to tailor PM knowledge for national and international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).   In this backdrop, the research employs a critical literature review and data collection process to investigate if PM has contributed to program evaluation and whether program evaluation practices seen in the sector today could inform PM4NGO’s guide: PMD Pro.   The study’s findings yield that PM has fallen short in contributing to program evaluation, despite the creation of PM4NGOs. Rather, what is evidenced in the PMD Pro guide is an adherence to traditional paradigms and an inability to capture where the sector is today: in an outcomes evaluation paradigm within a people-centered PM in ID era. This study ultimately provides a series of recommendations to update PM4NGO’s contribution to program evaluation and synchronize its relevance with program evaluation practices in the sector today

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