Building the evidence base for post project evaluation: Case study review and evaluability checklists

This report to the Faster Forward Fund by Laurie Zivetz and Jindra Cekan of Valuing Voices compares findings from eight end-of-project and subsequent post project evaluations. Given their rarity, there is little real evidence about project impact on long-term sustainability. This report aims to help build this evidence. 

 

This resource and the following information was contributed to BetterEvaluation by Jindra Cekan and Laurie Zivetz.

Authors and their affiliation

Jindra Cekan and Laurie Zivetz of Valuing Voices with Kate Robins

Year of publication

2017

Type of resource

Discussion paper

Key features

There are two foci: a findings report and checklists.

Findings include:

  1. Post project evaluations can contribute to better understanding of the drivers of sustainability and sustainability outcomes and impacts, and reveal unexpected and emerging outcomes due to the efforts and resources of participants and partners years after project investments stopped. Sometimes they can indicate ways in which we can design and implement for sustainability. 
  2. There can be dramatic differences between the anticipated trajectory of a project, what is happening as the project ends, and what actually continued, was adapted, ceased or changed course after close out.   
  3. A wide array of methods have been used to conduct post project evaluations.  Many of the comparisons are challenged by insufficient project baseline or endline data and poor knowledge management of data, reports etc.  
  4. The use of findings from post project evaluation varies, and there is little evidence about effective absorption into organizational practice and subsequent design.
  5. The field needs more attention to comparable taxonomies and definitions (what is ex-post, post-project, post-completion versus impact evaluation).
  6. An evaluability checklist for assessing whether a post project evaluation is viable, as well as a checklist for measuring sustainability starting at the beginning of the project cycle are designed to help evaluators with the practicalities of assessing sustainability.

Who is this resource useful for?

  • Advocates for evaluation;
  • Commissioners/managers of evaluation;
  • Evaluation users;
  • Evaluators;
  • Those involved in evaluation capacity strengthening;
  • Others: Donors, national governments, and implementing partners thinking about monitoring or evaluating sustainability 

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

1. The evidence of the value added of conducting a post project sustainability evaluation presented in this report can be used to advocate for doing more post project evaluations and use the results for redesign.
2. The checklists can be used to prepare to design for, track and measure project and programmatic sustainability outcomes—throughout the project cycle and after project close out.  

Why would you recommend it to other people?

Without learning from what has been sustained, how can organizations fund and implement projects that further 'sustainable development'?  
Agencies and evaluators planning for measuring sustainability may find the checklists helpful.

Source

Zivetz, L. and Cekan, J. with Robins, K. (2017). Building the evidence base for post project evaluations: Case study review and evaluability checklists. Retrieved from:  http://valuingvoices.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/The-case-for-post-pr...

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A special thanks to this page's contributors
Resource Suggested By
President, Valuing Voices at Cekan Consulting.
Washington, United States of America.
Resource Suggested By
Independent Consultant, Valuing Voices at Cekan Consulting.
Washington, United States of America.

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