Welcome to this Aidpreneur.com training on evaluation for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs. I’m Stephen Ladek, Host of the Terms of Reference Podcast and Principal at International Solutions Group. At this stage, whether you are an independent professional or working for a small organization, you’ve really put in a huge amount of work identifying, securing and now executing a project for your client. Whether you are working for yourself or leading a team, while you’re monitoring and managing your project, you are focused on day-to-day issues, navigating the waters surrounding the project and managing any change that is required as you move towards your proposed objectives.
At some point, you need to step back and determine how you’re doing, and what impact you have had so you can improve your performance. This is the heart of evaluation. Depending on the length of your project, an evaluation might take place at some waypoint or it could be at the end of the project. And if it is a very long project, spanning more than three or four years, you may have multiple evaluations. An evaluation is, at its core, a very focused research project. As I’ve mentioned in other trainings, the humanitarian aid and international development industry is filled with very smart people, usually with lots of degrees. This ultimately means research has the potential to be sexy. Unfortunately, however, it’s my bet that this stage you’re swamped with a to do list that reaches the ceiling and an overcommitted calendar. This is one of the critical shortcomings of evaluations: there is a perception that all evaluations do is add to the work and time constraints you’re already fighting. In my opinion, this could be the most important reason why evaluation always receives the short end of the stick in terms of time, resources and money.
Nevertheless, evaluation is very important. This is because as you’re managing a project, you’re really only able to monitor it. This monitoring helps you to understand if you are hitting your specific targets and benchmarks, and if you’re moving the needle toward your proposed objectives. But it doesn’t provide you with opportunity to do things better. Evaluation, on the other hand, provides you with the opportunity to understand how well you performed and how deeper or wider your impact may be by looking at things such as the efficiency, effectiveness, relevance and sustainability of your program or process. While evaluation is most often thought of in terms of organizations, evaluation also applies to individual contractors – either through the lens of providing feedback on your individual performance, or by looking at how you performed as a part of a team effort.
This training has two goals: to provide a high-level discussion of how you can design, manage and use an evaluation, and to look at best practices for executing an evaluation. In the next section I will start by looking at how to design evaluations. Thank you for watching this training on evaluation for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs. Remember, if you have any questions, please contact us at training@Aidpreneur.com.