Program evaluation

The key to good program evaluations is to understand what has worked and what could be improved. The challenge for many social development projects is that evidence of success may not be readily available. Unlike private companies, where revenue and profits are a constant barometer for how the business is performing, social development projects need to collect first hand data to show they have made a difference.

Past project evaluation carried out by Rapid Asia have typically used a mixed methods approach allowing for triangulation between difference data sources.

Program evaluations sometimes have specific evaluation questions to be answered, in other cases they use the following (or similar) criteria.

  1. Relevance
    The extent to which the objectives of a development intervention are consistent with beneficiaries’ requirements, country needs, global priorities and partners’ and donors’ policies. In short, is the programme doing the right thing?
  2. Effectiveness
    The extent to which the development intervention’s objectives were achieved, or are expected to be achieved, taking into account their relative importance. That is, are the objectives of the programme interventions being achieved?
  3. Efficiency
    A measure of how economically resources/inputs (funds, expertise, time, etc.) are converted to results. In other words, are the objectives being achieved economically by the development intervention?
  4. Impact
    Positive and negative, primary and secondary long-term effects produced by a development intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended. So, does the development intervention contribute to reaching higher level development objectives?
  5. Sustainability
    The continuation of benefits from a development intervention after major development assistance has been completed. That is, the probability of continued long-term benefits or resilience to risk of the net benefit flows over time.