What is your biggest concern for evaluations during COVID-19?

I hosted a Zoom call on Thursday, April 9th, 2020 to discuss evaluation in international development during COVID-19.

I asked people when registering for the call (about 75 people) to identify their biggest concern for evaluations at this time. Then I grouped these by theme. Below is this list. 

What are your biggest concerns?

What is your biggest concern for evaluations during COVID-19?

Comments from Registrants on Discussion on Evaluation in International Development

with Canadian Association of International Development Professionals April 9, 2020

Led by Elizabeth Dyke, Independent Health and Social Development Consultant


Overall Impact on Human Life

  • The impact of response given aspects of its transmission, severity and health care efforts
  • Catastrophic level of loss of life in developing countries

Overall Impact of COVID-19 on Programs

  • That COVID-19 will likely have huge negative repercussions on other health programs
  • How do we make sure a multi-sectoral approach to pandemic is prioritized, with programming, response, and for evaluation?
  • Regular programming has stopped
  • Health Economics implications

Overall Impact of COVID-19 on Evaluations

  • How COVID-19 will affect data?
  • Programme implementation distortions reducing evaluability
  • Practical conduct of evaluation during Covid-19
  • Measuring secondary impacts of COVID-19 on program outcomes
  • Impact of COVID-19 on results
  • Recidivism due to COVID-19 and program results reflecting that
  • Delays between intervention and data collection
  • Going through the motions of evaluation when it is clearly the wrong time
  • Not having enough response information
  • Implementation challenges
  • How halting interventions for different periods of time impact on evaluations and what should be minimum requirements
  • Key stakeholder priorities have shifted

 Equity Issues

  • Gender, race and class dimensions
  • Going beyond elites, hearing the voices of the hard to reach
  • Insensitivity to the realities of people in dire straits
  • How to ensure that the uncounted are made visible during the research process despite increased mobility constraints
  • Inability to reach marginalized and vulnerable people for inclusion in adapted data collection practices
  • Food security

Safety Issues

  • Putting communities at risk
  • Health and safety of workers
  • Data collection, safety, security, ethics, field work and observations which are not possible during COVID
  • Emotional wellbeing of children

Design and Data Collection Generally

  • Data Collection
  • Access for data collection
  • Field data collection
  • Getting the data
  • Evaluation design and data collection constraints
  • Qualitative data collection on (off) the field
  • My biggest concern is how to collect qualitative data during covid-19
  • Reaching the right people
  • Gathering data from clients
  • Interaction with clients/beneficiaries
  • L'organisation pratique de l'évaluation dans ce contexte

Adaptation that is Needed (specifically and generally)

  • How to rapidly re-scope/re-tool already-begun evaluations to deliver information that helps tackle the pandemic
  • Evolving evaluation practices need to align to the new social paradigm
  • Adaptation
  • Not having knowledge/capacities to respond

Impact of Travel Restrictions

  • Inability to travel overseas and collect data
  • Travel restrictions preventing us from doing field work
  • Travel to and from
  • Field verification
  • How to carry them out given restrictions on travel, meetings and gatherings
  • Not being able to collect data due to movement restrictions
  • In-country movement restrictions
  • Mobility to conduct evaluations on the ground

Shift to Local Data Collection?

  • Field data collection and training data collectors
  • Smooth transition to localization
  • Access and Accountability
  • In person data collection
  • When can we consider re-starting data collection activities?

Remote Data Collection including Challenges

  • Less information is available using ICT for interviews than using site visits and in person
  • How to conduct robust research in areas with limited digital access
  • How to transition to remote evaluation and closer collaborative linkages with Southern partners
  • Collecting data remotely
  • Conducting /facilitating innovative approaches through online technology
  • How to support capacity building of our colleagues in the south
  • How do we effectively evaluate remotely/online?
  • I was asked if evaluations interviews can be done online. I personally doubt that and wonder how can we move forward?
  • Remotely doing multi country evaluation of community based adaptation and livelihood projects
  • Les moyens de vérification de la fiabilité des données

 That Evaluations will not be valued/will not be done/will not be rigorous

  • That it will be skipped
  • That evaluations will stop
  • The importance of evaluation
  • Ensure that rigorous evaluations take place to continue informing sound public policies, programs and projects
  • Cancellation/ scaled down to the point of evals losing their value
  • There are so many other needs at the moment that evaluations will not be given attention needed

Overall Impact on Evaluations and on Businesses

  • Business Management
  • Lower opportunities for evaluation contracts
  • Impact on on-going Monitoring and Evaluation assignments







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