Using M&E to Improve Government Performance and Accountability
The policy- and decision-making environment is inherently political – both party political in terms of achieving an electoral mandate, and in terms of organisation politics and the political economy of the country. This leads to webs of power and infuence, through which stakeholders must learn to navigate. In this context, evaluation evidence is one infuence on outcomes. It requires translating complex evaluation fndings into useable information and recommendations, building a portfolio of evidence, a coalition of stakeholders to support it, and ensuring its use requires planning and infuencing strategies. More importantly, a long-term view needs to be taken. Some evaluations create great changes, others little tremors – but a delay in implementing findings and recommendations does not equate to not using them at all. And ultimately, evidence-based policy and practice is a means to social betterment, not an end goal. For evaluations to have meaningful impact, governments must have a serious commitment to facing the failures evaluations may bring to the surface, and to making the improvements suggested. Through Twende Mbele, countries can learn from each other, adapt learnings from their peers, and, where appropriate, develop common approaches. They can learn from each other’s activities as well as those of other regional initiatives. The successful collaboration of Twende Mbele countries can help to augment and entrench the use of M&E for change. This means that lessons need to be documented and shared, knowledge generated must be owned by all parties, and, perhaps most crucial of all, participating countries must be accountable to each other, and to their supporters in-country, with both peer learning and peer competition helping to drive change.