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Knowledge sharing platform: capacity4dev.eu

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:53
Knowledge sharing is a key driver for Capacity Development both on donors’ side and on the aid recipients side. It facilitates exchange on practices, and messages that promote ownership, change and results.
The knowledge sharing platform Capacity4dev emerged in 2009 as a direct outcome of the Backbone Strategy on the Technical Cooperation Reform, and has since continuously evolved to become EuropeAid’s corporate knowledge sharing platform on development and cooperation. It covers most development topics and facilitates knowledge sharing not only among the staff of DG Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid and its Delegations but with other DGs of the European Commission (e.g. DG ECHO), the EEAS, Development agencies of Member States, and other relevant actors such as International Development organisations, partner countries, consultants, NGOs..
      Through this tool the EU aims to consolidate and capitalise knowledge generated within its network to enhance the quality and impact of its work on development cooperation.

In doing so, it is contributing to tackle 4 key knowledge challenges:
  • Consolidate its knowledge and preserve institutional memory. In an organisation which counts 140 Delegations and which relies partly on externally contracted staff, there is a need for a system that will help knowledge retention and capitalisation. The collaborative production of knowledge pieces backed by video interviews and the advanced groupware offered, support knowledge capitalisation and exchanges in a user-friendly way.
  • In this connection, the existence of Cap4dev as EuropeAid’s corporate knowledge sharing platform offers also the opportunity for consolidation of tools and communities of practice. The existence of different platforms and tools serving the development community contributes to the fragmentation of communities of practice and of the knowledge they generate. Starting from the EU Institutions level, the objective of capacity4dev is to re-unite and consolidate the knowledge spaces on development and bring together the practitioners around a common environment, while seeking to develop synergies and partnerships with major knowledge platforms run by other donors.
  • Facilitate cross-learning and knowledge exchange between EU Institutions staff and other development professionals and experts. It is important that knowledge exchange is set-up among EC practitioners and their professional partners such as EU Member States practitioners, consultants, NGOs, etc., to help boost the quality and impact of our policies and actions, as well as improve coordination among donors. With a 40/60 mix of Internal / external Development practitioners capacity4dev offers the possibility for that cross-learning to happen.
  • Help bridge the thematic and geographic silos. Staff spends most of their time within their thematic area or geographic field and lack horizontal access to the work done in other fields and regions. Nevertheless this horizontal view is important as themes are intertwined and what happens in one region may be relevant for another one. Various techniques (including thematic and geographic taxonomies) help bring to the surface knowledge that is relevant to the practitioners beyond their core theme or geographic focus.
  What is offered?
  • Access to a large community of development practitioners from across the world: over 10000 Professionals from all over the world (for updated information visit the statistics section of capacity4dev.eu).
  • Over 350 knowledge pieces (Voices and Views) backed with video and references updated weekly.
  • Knowledge sharing tools for teams: Free Groupware for the development community: over 18000 posts in a variety of EU, EC/EEAS and Private groups with: Group site, blog, document library, events pages, survey tool, project management tool, members rooster, customisable categories and tags to classify content, etc.
  Are you a development professional? Join the community today! As simple as … 1,2,3:
  1. Become a member : fill in the registration form.
  2. Look for groups you should be joining and request membership.
  3. … start learning and contributing your experience!
We are here to help you come on-board! You can also find online help and guidance.
Categories: News

Methodological publications: “Tools and Methods”

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:50
In addition to the main types of general project and programme cycle management guidance, thematic/sector methodological guidance is provided in various fields and sectors.   What is the "Tools and Methods Series"? The “Tools and Methods Series” published by EuropeAid aims to structure the presentation of the methodological documents produced by the various thematic and horizontal units within EuropeAid. The Series is managed by unit Quality of Delivery Systems.

The collection includes three sub-collections: guidelines, reference documents and concept papers.

    How to obtain eu publications Free publications:
  • via the EU Bookshop;
  • at the European Union’s representations or delegations. You can obtain their contact details on the Internet or by sending a fax to +352 2929-42758.
Priced publications: Priced subscriptions (e.g. annual series of the Official Journal of the European Union and reports of cases before the Court of Justice of the European Union):
Categories: News

Project and programme cycle management guidance

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:48
Project and programme cycle management guidance relates to the approaches governing the programming, design, implementation and evaluation of projects and programmes funded by EU external assistance.

Project and programme cycle management guidance proceeds on the fundamental principles governing the cycle of operations characterized by a five stage cycle:
  • programming, where the priorities of EU assistance to a partner country, region or decentralized actors are defined;
  • identification, where the options for an intervention are considered;
  • formulation or design, where the action is developed in detail on the basis of which funding is approved;
  • implementation, where actions are carried out and monitored;
  • evaluation where the achievements are assessed in depth and lessons learned.

There are three main types of project and programme cycle management approaches: sector policy support, budget support and project support. For further information please go to Aid delivery methods.

Categories: News

Methodological guidance: cycle management, tools and methods

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:46

The core methodological guidance refers to the EuropeAid methodology orientating EU External assistance funded actions. Guidance is provided to EuropeAid staff on the key means of preparing, implementing and evaluating external aid actions:

 

 

Categories: News

Cooperation with Member States

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:43

Since 2010, the European Commission has intensified the use of Joint Evaluations carried out with other donors, focusing particularly on EU Member States. Joint evaluations are used systematically for budget support interventions and where possible for country level evaluation.

The Commission is also committed to join with Member States in deciding strategy for co-operation with partner countries, so that the logic of joint country-level evaluations is strengthened.

Cooperation with the Member States' evaluation units is also regarded as essential and should be further intensified. Periodic meetings with EU Heads of Evaluation Services are already taking place to exchange ideas and best practices, to encourage dialogue on common evaluation issues and to improve practices.

 

Categories: News

Quality, availability and use of strategic evaluations

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:41
Ensuring the quality of the evaluation   The European Commission is committed to quality standards for development evaluation set by the OECD's Development Assistance Committee and follows the European Commission Evaluations standards.

The Evaluation Unit ensures the quality of the evaluation throughout the process, firstly by selecting the best possible external expertise in the evaluation team and then by ensuring that the expectations and needs formulated in the terms of reference are fulfilled. In this context, the Unit, together with the steering group, provide comments and feedback throughout the different phases of the evaluation (inception, desk, field, synthesis).

The external evaluators know from the start on which basis their report will be assessed, as main quality criteria are set out in the terms of reference in the form of a quality grid. It is the responsibility of the evaluation manager to assess the work of evaluators during the process and fill in this grid. Every quality grid is then published on the evaluation website, next to the report.   Dissemination of the results of the evaluation   Enhancing transparency and accountability by communicating on the added value of the European Union to the European citizens is part of the Evaluation Unit's mission. It is therefore the Unit's responsibility to increase awareness of the main findings, conclusions and recommendations of each evaluation through the organisation of public seminars as well as through a wide circulation of the reports.

Full reports of all evaluations together with their "fiche contradictoire" and quality grid are available on EuropeAid - Evaluation website. Summaries of the most recent evaluation are also available in hard copies at the External cooperation "InfoPoint".   Follow-up of the evaluation   Three systems feed evaluation lessons and recommendations into the operational work:
  1. The “fiche contradictoire” is a public statement of the response to the evaluation recommendations and what will be, or has been, done to respond to them.
  2. The Interservice Quality Support Group (iQSG) is a peer group which reviews proposed geographic and thematic strategies and is responsible for ensuring coherence between EU strategy and its implementation. It is an important channel for feeding back evaluation lessons, recommendations and best practices in new programmes.
  3. The bi-annual evaluation report is prepared every 6 months by the Evaluation Unit for the external relations Commissioners and provides an overview of the main conclusions and recommendations drawn from the strategic evaluations. This exercise serves as a useful basis to assist decision makers in deciding on the follow up and improve EU strategies and interventions.
Categories: News

Strategic evaluations to analyse EU strategies

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:38
Categories: News

Strategic evaluations to analyse EU strategies

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:38

Does aid reach the people who need it?  How effective is the EU in reaching its objectives? Are EU development policies the right ones, and are they appropriately applied?  Could EuropeAid deliver its aid more efficiently?

Strategic evaluations analyse EU strategies from conception to implementation, assessing the results of EU funded activities. These evaluations are complex, covering several programmes and instruments over a significant period of time. They are conducted at several levels : country, region or sector; they can also assess the procedures and instruments EuropeAid uses to provide aid.

The objective is to draw lessons from what has worked and what has not, so that EuropeAid can improve accountability and enhance its effectiveness. Strategic evaluations help understand why in a specific context development strategies have been successful or not, and provide recommendations to the decision-makers for the future programming and implementation.

The Evaluation Unit ensures the quality and objectivity of strategic evaluations

Within EuropeAid, it is the role of the Evaluation Unit to ensure the independence of the evaluation process and the objectivity and quality of the evaluation reports in order to increase the credibility of the findings, conclusions and recommendations.

To ensure the objectivity of each evaluation, the Evaluation Unit contracts independent evaluation experts and ensures that they apply a robust methodology for evaluation in a transparent way. The Unit coordinates their work, with the support of a steering group of experts, throughout the process to guarantee the quality of the evaluation. Once the report is finalised, it ensures its distribution and publication, as well as the follow-up of the main recommendations by the relevant EU institutions and services.

Work Programme

A work programme defined by the European Commission establishes the list of countries, regions, instruments or sectors of cooperation to be evaluated on the principle that cooperation with partner countries should be evaluated on a regular basis. This programme can, however, be adjusted to take into account political and development priorities as well as programming phases and legal frameworks.

Work Programme 2014-2018

Contacts

For more information about evaluation reports or to order a hard copy, please send a message to the Evaluation Unit.

Our address:
European Commission
Directorate-General for Development and Co-operation EuropeAid
Evaluation Unit
L-41 - 03/86
B-1049 Brussels
EUROPEAID-08@ec.europa.eu

 
Categories: News

Project and programme evaluations

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:37

Has a project reached its stated objectives? Where there any unforeseen positive or negative effects? What could be learned from the experience and how can EuropeAid and its partners do an even better job next time? How can an on-going intervention be improved to maximize its results?

EuropeAid commissions evaluations of individual EU-funded projects and programmes during and after their implementation. Evaluations on project/programme level are used to improve on-going operations and to learn from experience. Good practice but also negative experience can help to design and manage better projects in the future.

Project evaluations are managed by the EU Delegations or EuropeAid Headquarter units in charge of the intervention to be evaluated. Independent external experts are hired to conduct the evaluation. A Reference Group composed on partner government officials, local stakeholders and, if applicable, donors active in related projects accompany the evaluation and ensure that the recommendations are taken up.

Project Evaluations are following a methodology defined by EuropeAid’s Evaluation Unit. Project evaluations are complemented by EuropeAid’s project reviews, the Results Oriented Monitoring (ROM) system.

 
Categories: News

Evaluation approach and methodology

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:35
Categories: News

Evaluation approach and methodology

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:35

The quality of an evaluation depends on the application of appropriate methodology to professional standards. EuropeAid has developed over the years a robust evaluation approach. This approach is available hereunder:

The way development aid is provided is constantly evolving. To reflect this changing in context, EuropeAid develops new, appropriate and innovative methodological tools in cooperation with international institutions such as the OECD and the World Bank.

Two major new approaches to evaluate budget support programmes and capacity development interventions which have recently been produced, tested and published are:

Categories: News

Measuring results

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:31
Categories: News

DEVCO's results framework

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:31

DEVCO is responsible for implementing the majority of the Commission's external assistance instruments. It is up to EuropeAid to get the best possible results from this work.

As set out in the Agenda for Change Communication, we are committed to promote a common-based results approach with EU member states and enhance our capacity to monitor and evaluate results.

In order to report on the Millennium Development Goals, EuropeAid has produced the brochure EU Contribution to the Millennium Development Goals (2010) which has been updated in September 2013.

In 2012, an EU Experts Group on Results has been created to contribute to this aim counting with the participation of Commission services, the EEAS and Member states. More information on the work of this Group can be found on Capacity4Dev website.

In December 2013 the Commission issued the Staff Working Document (2013) 530 "Paving the way for an EU Development and Cooperation Results Framework". Such framework will attempt to measure the EU contribution towards the global development progress (e.g. MDGs) and – more concretely – to a set of development outcomes and outputs supported by EuropeAid and EEAS over the next years – focusing on the priority sectors of EU cooperation as stated in the Agenda for Change.

The EU Development and Cooperation Results Framework aims to be operational as of 2015.

Categories: News

Results-Oriented Monitoring (ROM)

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:29
Categories: News

External independent review system

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:29
What is it and why is it important?  

In addition to the monitoring of projects and programmes by the EU Delegations in the field and by the Commission’s Headquarters services, the Commission also operates an external, independent review system, called Results-Oriented Monitoring (ROM) for its focus on the performance of projects and programmes. It aims to provide both EU Delegations and Headquarters with qualitative and quantitative data on the performance of the projects and programmes which receive EU financial support. ROM focus on problematic projects and programmes as assessed by Operational Managers in their annual reporting exercise.

ROM thus provides, at the level of a project or a programme, feedback to project managers and supervisors on the performance of the implementation under their responsibility and, where appropriate, gives recommendations on how to improve or rectify/modify them.

At the level of the Commission’s reporting, ROM provides a general overview of the performance of projects and programmes.

 

How does it work?

ROM reviews are based on document reviews and on-site visits to projects carried out by external sector experts. The analysis is structured around the five OECD-DAC evaluation criteria (relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability), it also reports on progress of results.

The ROM Report (MR) is presenting the findings of the ROM project visit. It includes general and financial information on the project, grades to characterize the quality of implementation ('very good', 'good', 'problems', 'serious deficiencies')   and, where appropriate, recommendations for improvement.

The ROM report offers a good opportunity to discuss the state of play of different projects with the EU Delegations and stakeholders.

ROM reviews are organized by service contractors in agreement with the Commission’s HQ services and the EU delegation concerned. The contractors are selected per geographical region as well as one contractor for a number of thematic projects and programmes not limited to a specific geographic region.

  Do you want to know more?   Further information is available on the Capacity4dev group dedicated to the methodology and results of ROM.
Categories: News

Monitoring of projects and programmes

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:28

What is it and why is it important?

Monitoring of projects and programmes aims at supporting project management of projects and programmes. It helps manage its risks. It involves the systematic and continuous collection of data useful for further analysis (review and evaluation) and for informed decision-making.

Monitoring often focuses mainly on the project’s or programme’s inputs, activities and outputs. It should also look at how the outputs can effectively induce the outcomes and impact which the project or programme is aiming at. Appropriate monitoring is key for ensuring the necessary accountability in relation to the performance and results of a project or programme.

A key role for Operational Managers is to check and, if relevant, promote updating and improvements of project design, work plans and other management tools. Operational managers should assess the quality/capacity of existing monitoring arrangements, with a view to ensuring quality of the Operations.

 

How does it work?

Monitoring takes place at different levels. It is necessary within the project or programme, which must have the monitoring arrangements in place which allow the project managers to see where they stand with implementation. Specific monitoring arrangements are defined for each project and programme.

Monitoring also takes place at the level of the supervisory authorities and on the side of the donor.

The guidance document   “Strengthening Project Internal Monitoring”  aims to assist the European Commission staff of EuropeAid in the monitoring of projects and programmes as well as mainstreaming good practices.

Categories: News

Monitoring and reporting of EC funded projects

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:26
Monitoring of EC funded projects consists of those processes performed to observe project implementation so that potential problems can be identified in a timely manner and corrective action can be taken, when necessary.

 

Categories: News

Budget support

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:24
Where the conditions are right, the Commission is committed to provide budget support as a means to strengthening country ownership, financing national development strategies (including poverty reduction strategies) and promoting sound and transparent public finances. Budget support involves the direct transfer of funds to a partner country’s budget where they can be managed using national systems.  

The way EuropeAid transfers funds to recipient governments – and the types of budget support – is further explained in 'Budget support and dialogue with partner countries' .

   
Categories: News

Project modality

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:21
A project is a series of activities aimed at bringing about clearly specified objectives within a defined time period and with a defined budget which is specific to the project.
A project should have:
  • Clearly identified stakeholders, including the primary target group and the final beneficiaries.
  • Clearly defined coordination, management and financing arrangements.
  • A monitoring system to oversee and follow implementation and to support project management.
  The Project Cycle Management (PCM) represents the whole of management activities and decision-making procedures used during the life cycle of a project.

PCM helps to ensure that projects are relevant to an agreed strategy and to the real problems of target groups/beneficiaries; feasible, meaning that objectives can be realistically achieved within the constraints of the operating environment and capabilities of the implementing agencies; and that generate sustainable benefits.

Within the Project Cycle Management, the Logical Framework Approach (LFA) is an analytical and management tool which is used, in one form or another, by most multilateral and bilateral aid agencies, international NGOs and by many partner governments.

The LFA should be thought of as an 'aid to thinking' which allows information to be analysed and organised in a structured way. The Logical Framework Matrix (the logframe) consists of a matrix which summaries the key elements of a project plan.

For more information, please read the Project Cycle Management Guidelines.
Categories: News

Aid delivery methods: the different approaches to aid

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 17:03

Aid is provided either through different methods which span from support to specific projects and programmes to support to the budget of a recipient government. Essentially, there are two aid delivery methods, i.e. two types of an action in terms of policy with geographical focus: budget support and project modality

Projects can either support a government to implement a sector policy and improve service delivery, or can be designed as standalone projects, for example to support civil society or private sector.

Where the conditions are right, the Commission is committed to provide budget support as a means to strengthening country ownership, financing national development strategies (including poverty reduction strategies) and promoting sound and transparent public finances. Budget support involves the direct transfer of funds to a partner country’s budget where they can be managed using national systems.

Whenever possible, the Commission promotes the sector approach to work with partner countries, other donors and stakeholders. The sector approach, which can be promoted under Budget support or project modality, usually gives partner governments greater ownership of development policy and financing. The end result is greater coherence between the allocation and use of internal and external resources of the country, spending and expected results.

The European Commission sees the sector approach as an important way of working with partner governments, donors and other stakeholders. It ensures partner governments’ ownership of development policy, strategy and spending. What is more, the sector approach offers increased coherence between national policies, sector policies, resource allocation and spending practices. And, by actively implementing the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005) and the Accra Agenda for Action (2008), it acts to minimise transaction costs incurred by partner governments.

A Sector Policy Support Programme (SPSP) will include:

  • An approved sector policy document and an agreed strategic framework with clear measurable outputs and outcomes, a timeframe and an institutional framework to ensure efficient implementation
  • A medium-term financing framework that is set within realistic medium-term budget expectations sourced from all funds
  • A coordination process amongst the donors in the sector, led by government and a harmonisation and alignment of coordination processes, also led by the government
  • An agreed performance monitoring system which includes a systematic client consultation mechanism.

For more information, please read the Guidelines on EC Support to Sector Programmes

 

 

 

Categories: News

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