What we mean by evaluation
When we talk about 'evaluation' on the BetterEvaluation site, we refer to all types of evaluative thinking and inquiry, including needs analysis or situation analysis, synthesis of existing evidence, monitoring and discrete evaluations. You can find more of the details on our What is evaluation page.
What we mean by capacity
Evaluation capacity is more than simply the capacity to conduct an evaluation. It also covers the capacity to plan, manage, and support use of evaluation. It includes strengthening a culture of valuing evidence, valuing questioning, and valuing evaluative thinking. This can include the capacity of evaluators, as well as the capacity of evaluation and programme managers, internal staff, and community members.
When we think about evaluation capacity, it's more than an individual or organisation's ability to undertake technical tasks; it also includes a range of areas such as interpersonal communication and group facilitation, as well as the ability to frame evaluations, make sense of them, support their appropriate use.
Kinds of capacity
When we talk about strengthening evaluation capacity, we refer to building three types of capital:
Human capital — knowledge and skills and the ability to apply them in contextually appropriate ways
Social capital — supportive networks of trust and reciprocity to support work
Organisational capital — including infrastructure and organisational culture
Capacity strengthening activities
Our task page on Strengthen Evaluation Capacity includes 44 different methods and processes for capacity strengthening, including self-assessment and peer-assessment, coaching and mentoring, reflective practice, as well as self-paced learning and reference points for professional practice. One-off training is a common approach to evaluation capacity strengthening but it may not be the most appropriate way to address a capacity-strengthening need in your organisation. We invite you to explore the full range of methods and processes available to you. Let us know if you have any further suggestions.
Looking to take the next step in strengthening evaluation capacity? Follow one of the pathways below.
Partner with BetterEvaluation
BetterEvaluation takes a principles-based and systems approach to capacity strengthening. We believe in taking the time to understand the existing strengths and needs at an individual and organisational level, and using this to determine what can be built on, how best to address important gaps over time, and what to prioritise first.
Organisational partners have access to our capacity strengthening services. Follow the links below to learn more about our approach to evaluation capacity strengthening and organisational partnerships.