Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Management for Development

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“Using evaluations to see and influence change”, an Interview with Ms. Caroline HEIDER, Director General of the IEG (WB Group)

The interview below was done by the Evaluation Support Service (ESS), a service to Unit 04 Results, Evaluation and Business Processes, of DG DEVCO. It addresses the critical question of the role of evaluations in generating knowledge on Aid, and helping the institution to learn from its experience. 
As KM specialists, or interested professionals, what are your views on this? Do Evaluations play an important role in institutional learning in your experience? Please comment below!


When it comes to learning – and notably learning from evaluations –, all international institutions face the same challenges. Ms. Caroline HEIDER, Director General of the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) shared her views with the Evaluation Support Service (ESS) on their efforts to establish a culture of learning from evaluations in the World Bank Group.

“Learning from evaluations is challenging in any institution” says Caroline Heider, but “there are always ways to do things better”. This is where evaluations can play a central role, to ensure that institutions learn from their experience and improve their delivery of Aid. “Evaluations generate knowledge by explaining why some things work, and why others don’t” she adds; “they are not just to tick a box”.
But to ensure that evaluations are used to generate knowledge, “we must establish a culture of learning from evaluations” and demonstrate how evaluations can be helpful, by evaluating things that matter, in a timely and credible way, and by creating an environment that promotes learning.

Ms. Caroline Heider was interviewed by the Evaluation Support Service (ESS), a service to Unit 04 Results, Evaluation and Business Processes, of DG DEVCO.

You can watch the full interview below:



Please comment below !


Thank you Michael, really nice video!
Evaluations are only valuable if we act accordingly with the information stemming from them - transparency is a must; and like Mrs Hieder clrearly states, summaries given through infographics or video are a great way to communicate what works and what doesn't.

Michael Potar - Evaluation Network expert (ESS)

Thanks Diane!

Indeed, this is why evaluations must arrive in a timely manner as to be used. And at the source, before launching evaluations, we must know to which specific needs the evaluations will respond: for accountabilty reasons, visibility of EU actions, better understanding of what works and why, or decision-making on managing the projects portfolio, etc.

In order for evaluations to be used, they must be useful!

Excellent interview! Very clear messaging and analysis. We can share a link to it on Capacity4dev's Facebook and Twitter, if you'd like.

Michael Potar - Evaluation Network expert (ESS)

Thanks Bartosz! Yes, please feel free to share elsewhere! Can you be sure to indicate that the Evaluation Support Service (ESS) is a service from Unit 04 Results, Evaluations and Business Process? It's a bit longer, but necessary to place our service in the broader context of DEVCO. 

KR, Michael

Very relevant interview that should be also posted in the DEVCO Intranet. I retain in particular that in "an independent evaluation you report to the governing body of the institution, rather than the management" and that the IEG has a separate budget from the World Bank group. If we really believe in evaluations, it should be a top priority.

Michael Potar - Evaluation Network expert (ESS)

Dear Sergio,

Many thanks for your comments!

Indeed, it's an important point of the interview. While I agree with your comment, I think that we must remember that the EC and IEG have a different history and organisational structure. So what is best for IEG may not always apply as such to DEVCO, and vice versa. But where I fully join your conclusion is that, watever the form, evaluation must be a top priority in the institution, both at operations and at board level. But it must not be imposed as an universal truth, but instead by convincing users of the need and added value for them. This is true at operational level, where evaluations are a useful tool to learn on activities, to pilot projects and be accountable; and at the governing body level, evaluations must respond to their needs for policy-making and reporting on the EC achievements.

Hello, indeed, really good interview with very clear concepts and where as says Caroline, every institution should encourage evaluations to be useful by "evaluating things that matter, in a timely and credible way, and by creating an environment that promotes learning". We are working to publish it on the DEVCO intranet and to give it the greatest possible visibility. Thank you all for your comments and the ESS for their excellent work.

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Debate posted by

Michael Potar - Evaluation Network expert (ESS)
Michaël POTAR
27 September 2018

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