Editorial comment: Alexey Kuzmin continues the ECDG Advisory Group blog series by sharing his insights into evaluation capacity and the motivations that underpin sustainable evaluation associations.
The creation of professional evaluation organizations (evaluation associations) on the one hand is contributing to ECD and, on the other hand, is a sign of growing evaluation capacity. Sustainable professional organizations cannot be created when evaluation capacity is weak. In the past, I observed several projects that included evaluation training and, in the end of it, was the creation of an ‘evaluation association’. When money is available, registration of a new organization is not a problem indeed. But none of those projects led to the creation of sustainable associations.
The key issue here is the motivation of potential members of the association. When their evaluation capacity is low, their motivation is mainly related to individual learning and making money. They tend not to share information with their colleagues (potential competitors) with whom they don’t feel any need to unite. As time goes by, the capacity of individual evaluators and their companies grows, and at some point they feel a need to unite. This is a milestone in evaluation capacity development – a shift from individuals and groups existing independently to the creation of a professional community. Let me emphasize that if their capacity does not grow over time (for instance, due to the fact that the environment in their country becomes less friendly for evaluation work), such a need does not emerge. External funding can not make a difference under such circumstances. As Abraham Felxner rightly said* about 100 years ago, mature professions tend toward self-organization and they are becoming increasingly altruistic in motivation.
*Abraham Flexner, “Is Social Work a Profession?” (paper presented at the National Conference on Charities and Correction, 1915)
ECDG Advisory Group