The Rationale for ICED
The International Centre for Evaluation and Development has been established at the right time. We have entered a development era shaped by the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals and the fourth industrial revolution, as well as by accelerated societal changes driven by economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. Moreover, ICED has come on the scene at a time when Monitoring and Evaluation– for the first time ever – has the potential to support development efforts across the world in new, more effective ways.
The need for ICED was identified by its founders based on their extensive experience in the field of development-related evaluation. Intensive dialogue with numerous leading figures in this field and in aligned disciplines also clarified the need for the organisation. ICED has been shaped by five key issues that offer the rationale for its establishment:
||Development practitioners are increasingly aware of the critical role that effective Monitoring and Evaluation must play in informing and shaping development policies, strategies and initiatives around the world. The past decade has witnessed an impressive increase in the number of governments and professional associations engaging in consequential Monitoring and Evaluation activities.
It has also seen an impressive extension of; the global reach of the EvalPartners movement and the need for evidence to action through rigorous impact Monitoring and Evaluation initiatives. The time is right from bringing more diverse intellectual resources to bear in ways that will ensure the Monitoring and Evaluation profession.
||There is a dearth of think tanks and centres of excellence in Africa that focus exclusively on Monitoring and Evaluation and that are able to bring significant resources and expertise to bear on nurturing leadership and innovation in Monitoring and Evaluation for development.
||There is an urgent need to rise above the Evaluation of individual development projects and programmes, and take on the “big picture” development issues that are often interconnected and come to the fore at national, regional and global scales. There is thus a strong need in Africa for qualified and independent organisations that can conduct both strategic and innovative evaluations that are context- and culture-sensitive as well as highly relevant to major development challenges in Africa.
||Countries in Africa offer a rich diversity of perspectives and experiences that can be tapped by Monitoring and Evaluation professionals. Modern as well as age-old knowledge and wisdom in Africa need to be harnessed effectively to support the evolution of Monitoring and Evaluation theory and practice worldwide.
||The Monitoring and Evaluation profession is becoming a very fashionable field of work worldwide, and as such is attracting people who may lack sufficient skills and insights to do justice to the demands of the profession. Monitoring and Evaluation for development is a specialised profession that demands significant levels of evaluative thinking and ethics, appropriate work experience, and technical expertise far beyond the application of social research methods.
Professionals need the ability to understand development challenges in Africa in depth, nuance and sensitivity to culture and context. They should be able to integrate facts and perspectives as well as quantitative and qualitative data and insights, consider the role of values across the evaluative process, apply systems and complexity thinking in designs and analyses, master the evaluative aspects of evaluation, and judge situations and efforts based on evidence, experience and intuition. For the sake of the profession and the contributions it can make to development, more should be done to nurture and draw into the profession the right level and type of expertise.