Learning Purposefully in Capacity Development (2008)

This paper examines how monitoring and evaluation (M&E) does, or could, make a difference to Capacity Dvelopment (CD). It explores whether there is something different or unique about M&E of CD that isn’t addressed by predominant options and ways of thinking about M&E, and which might be better addressed by experimenting with learning-based approaches to M&E of CD.

By first understanding the intended purpose of capacity development interventions— and the underlying assumptions, relationships and complexities—we can get a better idea of what specifically we want M&E to help accomplish, and subsequently choose the best methodologies and tools for carrying that out.

Excerpt

"Many capacity development (CD) programs and processes aim at long?term sustainable change, which depends on seeing many smaller changes in at times almost invisible fields (rules, incentives, behaviours, power, coordination etc.). Yet, most evaluation processes of CD tend to focus on shortterm outputs focused on clearly visible changes. This opinion paper will offer some ideas on how to deal with this paradox, by examining how monitoring and evaluation (M&E) does, or could, make adifference to CD. It explores whether there is something different and unique about M&E of CD that isn’t addressed by predominant options and ways of thinking about M&E, and which might be better addressed by experimenting with learning?based approaches to M&E of CD."
 
Source: Ortiz, A., & Taylor, P. (2008). Learning purposefully in capacity development Why, what and when to measure? p.i

Contents

  •  Introduction—what should monitoring & evaluation (m&e) tell us about capacity development (cd)? 
  •  Capacity development means and ends—“what are we measuring and when should we measure it?” 
  •  In search of performance and impact 
  •  Standing capacity 
  •  What can we learn from m & e of cd dilemmas? 
  •  Development being a process already in motion 
  •  Linear versus complex adaptive systems (cas) thinking, programming and measurement 
  •  Attribution 
  •  Donor accounting focus versus open learning approaches 
  •  Incorporation of organizational learning approaches to m&e of cd
  •  Large-scale experimentation and action research 
  •  Use of theory of change (toc) approaches for designing m&e of cd systems 
  •  What can a theory of change offer?
  • Hypothetical example of TOC use in Education For All (EFA)

Specific Options and approaches Mentioned

Source

Ortiz, A., & Taylor, P. (2008). Learning purposefully in capacity development Why, what and when to measure?. UK: Institute of Development Studies (IDS) Retrieved from http://www.impactalliance.org/file_download.php?location=S_U&filename=12448669691ME_of_CD_final_version--v2.pdf

This paper was republished in 2009 through the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); -

Alfredo Ortiz Aragón and Peter Taylor (2009). "Learning Purposefully in Capacity Development: Why, What and When to Measure?" Institute of Development Studies (IDS). An opinion paper prepared for IIEP, Paris: IIEP. Available at: http://works.bepress.com/alfredo_ortiz/1

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