Strengthen evaluation capacity

Capacity building,

An important aspect of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) ‘systems’ is strengthening the M&E capacity of individuals, organisations, communities and networks. 

While there are other terms used for this, we suggest using the term ‘evaluation capacity strengthening’ to emphasise the value of recognising, reinforcing and building on existing capacity. 

Understanding capacity

M&E capacity is not just about developing competencies for doing monitoring and evaluation.  It also includes competencies in effectively designing, managing, implementing and using monitoring and 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

Change theories for capacity strengthening

It can also be useful to consider three broad change theories (drawing on Mitchie et al. 2011 meta-theory of behaviour change):

  • increasing motivation
  • increasing capacity
  • increasing opportunity –including an enabling environment for M&E

Evaluation capacity strengthening is not just about training

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.

Individuals, groups and organisations should think about different types of capacity strengthening activities and support and consider how these can be integrated to best address their specific needs.

We invite you to explore the full range of methods and processes available to you. Let us know if you have any further suggestions.


Increasing skills and knowledge

A range of methods related to various strategies to increase skills and knowledge - among evaluators, others doing evaluation, and people who oversee monitoring and evaluation systems (for example, program managers).

Competency assessment

Knowledge, skills, attitudes (KSA) development and ongoing development

Building and sharing knowledge

Other strategies

Reference points for professional practice

These reference points can be used to guide activities aimed at increasing capacity – for example, when developing a training course or a peer learning program – or activities aimed at increasing motivation – for example, supporting a shared professional identity to motivate individuals.  

Engagement with professional associations

Professional associations play an active role in supporting capacity development – for example, by offering workshops and encouraging the development of supportive professional relationships.  They can also contribute to motivation by providing inspirational exemplars of practice and practitioners.

Public recognition of good practice

Increasing opportunity for professional practice

A range of methods for building a better informed and motivated demand side of evaluation and a more conducive enabling environment. Some relate to educating the public and evaluation managers and users about evaluation and evaluators, and others relate to engaging in wider organisational and public processes with implications for evaluation practice.

Educating the public, evaluation managers and users

Strengthening the enabling environment for good evaluation practice

Review of practice

Some methods which relate to the task ‘Evaluate evaluation’ can be used as part of evaluation capacity strengthening, as they can both improve a specific product and also develop internal skills and knowledge.

Expand to view all resources related to 'Strengthen evaluation capacity'

'Strengthen evaluation capacity' is referenced in: