Long Read
14 September 2015

Joint Evaluations: ‘Dutch Development Cooperation is effective and efficient’

Unique evaluations have been carried out worldwide to assess the results of development programmes implemented by Dutch development organisations in the framework of the Dutch subsidy system MFS II (Co-financing II) between 2012 and 2014. Independent academic researchers studied over 200 projects implemented in eight countries by 64 Dutch NGOs, that were organised in 19 alliances. This also included the SRHR Alliance and the WASH Alliance, in which Simavi takes part as an active partner.  The overall conclusion is that Dutch development cooperation is efficient and effective.

The evaluation was unique in its complexity and size. It focussed on the effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of the programmes in four thematic areas: contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), capacity building of organisations, civil society strengthening and international lobbying and advocacy.  The complete study has provided ten comprehensive reports with important results, useful findings and insights.

Conclusions

The international and Dutch evaluators concluded that the development programmes have positively contributed to achieving the MDGs and that lobbying and advocacy programmes have clearly influenced the agendas of policy makers. Also with regard to capacity building positive results have been achieved: many organisations have improved their capacity to manage their own affairs successfully. Although it was hard to measure due to time constraints the researchers also found positive results with regard to civil society strengthening.  “We should be proud of what we have achieved. The Dutch development organisations have done a great job that is not only effective, but has been executed very efficiently. We may call ourselves a top sector indeed”, said Bart Romijn, Executive Director of Partos, the Dutch association for NGOs working in International Development.

Keep learning

The evaluations also generated important insights in the factors that influence the effectiveness and efficiency of interventions. For example, being involved with partners and programmes over a long time period turns out to be an important success factor.

That is something, Simavi has been anticipating for many years. We’ve established extensive local and international networks in WASH, SHRH and beyond. Such as our partnership in the WASH alliance and SRHR alliance. We always look for possibilities to work together with both private sector, government agencies, international foundations, knowledge institutions, NGO networks, local partner NGOs as well as the people using health services. That’s the way it has to be if we want to increase 10 million people’s basic health by 2020.

The evaluation has shown that, although efficiency is ingrained in the DNA of development organisations, more explicit attention at programme level is required to the consequences of choices in terms of efficiency. These lessons learned need to be applied as much as possible when continuing the programmes. “The approach of the MDGs appears to be successful and is therefore reason to adopt them when working on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It has also turned out that a long term strategy is best for achieving greater effectivity of lobby programmes,” according to Lucia Helsloot, evaluation manager at Partos.

The Joint Evaluation Trust and NWO WOTRO

Sixty-seven Dutch development organisations were awarded the MSF II subsidies.  One of the preconditions set by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for awarding the subsidies was that all programmes would be evaluated. The Ministry also specified the requirements for these evaluations. In order to meet these requirements in the best way possible nineteen out of the twenty alliances that received MFSII funding joined forces in the Joint Evaluation Trust  (Stichting Gezamenlijke Evaluaties (SGE). NWO – WOTRO was contracted by SGE to manage the  evaluations and published calls for proposals for conducting the evaluation studies. The various research teams selected for carrying out the evaluations  were coordinated by NWO – WOTRO.

More information on the Joint MSF II Evalutions can be found in this flyer.

 

 

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