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Make good use of internal competencies

January 03, 2017 | Leonie Pock | Methods & Tools |

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Valerie RossiSince 2010 SDC has developed a new approach for evaluating country strategies through a pilot process. Country evaluations support the definition of new cooperation strategies strategically and stimulate learning. The central pillar of this new approach is the promotion of the exchange and the sharing of knowledge within our institution and among an evaluation team led by an external consultant. What is, therefore, the major difference between country strategy evaluations and other external evaluations? SDC staff is involved in the evaluation team, acts as an evaluator but with an inside knowledge of the institutional issues and debates. A capitalization process of eight country strategy evaluations was undertaken in 2016. Different feedback and opinions of the involved people (peers, consultants, colleagues from the field and from HQ) are presented in the illustrations below.

By Valérie Rossi, SDC

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Illustration 1: feedbacks of Peers

Country strategy evaluations are defined as hybrid evaluations as they are undertaken by a mixed team composed by an external consultant and two SDC (or if relevant SECO) peers. E+C decided to develop this approach to valorize the knowledge and competencies of the SDC staff and enhance internal learning, while still benefitting from an outside view of an external consultant. While country evaluations follow a standardized approach, each one is unique, as specific needs of Divisions and SCOs are considered. This approach has different advantages. With regard to the peers, it notably ensures a high degree of involvement and of learning for the peers.

Country evaluations can be considered win-win processes because the consultants, the peers, the operational Divisions and the SCOs can jointly learn during the process. The peers are the central figures of this learning. They bring their experience to an operational Division; they learn from the consultant and bring back new knowledge to their own Divisions thanks to the evaluation. In return, the consultant, the operational Division and the SCOs learn from the peers.

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Illustration 2: feedbacks of SCOs

Giving SDC staff the opportunity to integrate a new space for discussion and reflection in evaluation processes is of high added value for all the parties involved. It is crucial to combine an external perspective and analysis with an internal point of view, both for improving the steering and the learning. In fact, the latter is key for an institution like SDC, which needs to embed learning in its internal processes.

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Illustration 3: feedbacks of consultants

Promoting a learning culture is not easy. Hybrid evaluation processes are a valuable way to contribute to the learning of the involved staff. Yet the final results and the evidence generated should also favour the learning beyond this group. Our division will continue to work on this aspect in the future. While hybrid evaluation is a relevant tool to recognize and strengthen competencies and knowledge, it is not the only one. Let’s not forget to promote the use of internal knowledge in other initiatives and platforms within our institution to reach this goal.

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Illustration 4: feedbacks of SDC HQ

 

Additional information on country strategy evaluation is available in our website:

https://www.eda.admin.ch/deza/en/home/results-impact/evaluations.html

You may also contact us by email:

sektion.evaluation-controlling@eda.admin.ch

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