15/09/21: Meta-evaluation and evaluation standards in social policy

Meta-evaluation is an “evaluation of evaluations” to improve future evaluation work. As a highly relevant topic for professionals working in social policy, the third module of the virtual Bridge-Building Summer School of Evaluation in Social Policies (August 25-27, 2021) was about meta-evaluation and evaluation standards in social policy.

15/09/21: By Rahel Kahlert, European Centre

Meta-evaluation is an “evaluation of evaluations” to improve future evaluation work. As a highly relevant topic for professionals working in social policy, the third module of the virtual Bridge-Building Summer School of Evaluation in Social Policies (25-27 August 2021) was about meta-evaluation and evaluation standards in social policy. This module was one of eight modules covered by the Summer School, which combined capacity building by enhancing knowledge and information sharing on the state-of the-art research and policy practices, exchanging shared experiences among participants, and developing ideas and proposals for “real-world” projects. “Real world” refers to the idea that evaluations take place under budget, time, data, and political constraints (see Bamberger & Mabry, 2019). One central focus was the interactive, hands-on small-group work with practical exercises to foster peer learning. Eye level interactions were core building blocks. The thirteen participants shared their expertise in either conducting or commissioning evaluations. The participants were social policy professionals from both the public and private sector in the Western Balkan region and Eastern Partnership region (in particular, Azerbaijan, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, and Ukraine).

The module on meta-evaluation and standards started with a short introduction about meta-evaluation by guest speaker Thomas Vogel, head of programmes at Horizon 3000, the largest Austrian non-governmental development cooperation organisation, where evaluation plays a key role for learning and accountability. Mr. Vogel introduced the difference between evaluation synthesis and meta-evaluation. Evaluation synthesis analyses a series of evaluation reports and aggregates findings on a higher level such as programme, country, or sector level. The aim is to find out how programmes or projects can be improved. Meta-evaluation also analyses a series of evaluation reports, but then analyses the quality of each evaluation. The aim is to find out how evaluations can be improved in the future. Meta-evaluation can enhance the quality in evaluation by using and applying evaluation standards for all levels of quality including scope, methodology, independence of evaluators, utility etc.

Rahel Kahlert then provided a brief input on widely used standards in evaluation such as the UNEG Norms and Standards (updated in 2016) to be upheld in the conduct of any evaluation. Professional evaluation associations such as the German Evaluation Society or the Swiss Evaluation Society developed their own standards for evaluators to apply in their daily professional work. Common features include accuracy (methodological and technical standards), propriety (legal and ethical standards), utility (serving information needs of intended users), and feasibility (realistic, cost-effective evaluation). As evaluators, we have to remind ourselves that we are dealing with persons and intervene in a setting. Therefore, it is important to follow ethical guidelines and protect human participants similar to any research setting.

The small-group breakout sessions dealt with the question: “How can standards enhance the quality of an evaluation?” The teams of 4 to 5 persons selected two to three evaluation standards and then applied them to a “real-world” setting. The teams used the online pad tool Google JamBoard (see Figure 1) to make their case by adding post-its. For all three teams, utility stood out as important evaluation standard. Involving stakeholders was regarded as a means of enhancing utility, i.e. improving the uptake of findings. This may sometimes conflict with the standard of independence, when donors or programme staff would like to influence evaluation findings (“interested only in the good stories (positive findings)”). Accuracy can be enhanced through triangulation and cross-referencing data, which ultimately also can improve utility and uptake.

Summarily, the module on meta-evaluation and standards was a lively, interactive experience with all participants engaged, and set the scene for further productive interactions. At the end of the Summer School, participants expressed their intention that they will apply evaluation standards in their evaluation work more strongly and engage in meta-evaluation in the future to ensure evaluation quality.

12/09/21 CfP: EaP CSF Re-granting to members 2021

This Call for Proposals seeks to allocate grant funding to projects which monitor the implementation of EaP targets, deliverables and related reforms (Lot 1), and addressing the EaP CSF’s strategic and advocacy priorities (Lot 2).

12/09/21 CfP: EaP CSF Re-granting to members 2021 – Lot 1 & Lot 2

Following the success of its Re-granting to Working Groups scheme over the past six years, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) Secretariat is launching a Call for Proposals under its new, re-worked Re-granting to Members programme. This scheme aims to support the work of EaP CSF members to develop and deliver on the strategic policy, advocacy and capacity building priorities of the Forum within the regional dimension. Read more

Book: The Struggle for good Governance in Eastern Europe

Book: The Struggle for good Governance in Eastern Europe by Emerson et al.

At a time when many regions of the world, Europe included, see a resurgence of authoritarianism, several countries in Eastern Europe: Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia, are struggling to counter this trend by developing European-style democracies.

In this second edition, three years after the first, the story of Eastern Europe’s dramatic struggles to achieve properly functioning democracies and the rule of law rages on, warranting deeper analysis and substantial updating. Read more

Report: Policies for human capital development: Eastern Partnership

Report: Policies for human capital development: Eastern Partnership: an ETF Torino Process assessment by Deij

The present regional report for the Eastern Partnership is the result of the fifth round of the Torino Process (2018-2020). The report coincides with the planning for the Eastern Partnership post-2020 policy framework and aims to provide a solid basis for regional policy dialogue between the EU and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine on human capital development issues. It is designed to support medium- to longer-term strategic thinking in VET, looks into the regional aspects of education outcomes, and discusses commonalities while respecting the differences between the countries of the region. The report provides a summary of key policy updates, data and information, including an overview of countries’ progress against key EU benchmarks and donor contributions to human capital in the region. Read more

New project: Situation Analysis of children & adolescents in Moldova

The European Centre team will support UNICEF Moldova in drafting the Situation Analysis of children and adolescents in Moldova. The Situation Analysis examines the degree of realization of children’s rights, investigates the unequal realization of rights across different areas/dimensions and identifies the drivers of unequal realization (UNICEF, 2019).

New project: Situation Analysis of children and adolescents in Moldova

The European Centre team will support UNICEF Moldova in drafting the Situation Analysis of children and adolescents in Moldova. The Situation Analysis examines the degree of realization of children’s rights, investigates the unequal realization of rights across different areas/dimensions and identifies the drivers of unequal realization (UNICEF, 2019). The scope of the Situation Analysis is to underline ‘child development’ related problems as well as progress and ways to overcome these problems and sustain the progress. Read more

24/05/21 Webinar: “New Momentum” for the European perspective of Moldova

Independent Think-Tank “Expert-Grup” invites to take part in the webinar: “New Momentum” for the European perspective of Moldova – comparisons between the “Associated Trio” and the Western Balkan states” on 24 May 2021, between 16:30 pm -17:45 pm (Chisinau time). 

24/5/21, 16:30-17:45 (Chisinau time): Webinar: “New Momentum” for the European perspective of Moldova – comparisons between the “Associated Trio” & the Western Balkan states

Independent Think-Tank “Expert-Grup” invites you to take part in the webinar: “New Momentum” for the European perspective of Moldova – comparisons between the “Associated Trio” and the Western Balkan states” on 24 May 2021, between 16:30 pm -17:45 pm (Chisinau time).  The event is dedicated to presenting the results of the study: “Balkan and Eastern European Comparisons: Building a New Momentum for the European integration of the Balkan and Eastern European associated states”. Read more

The event is organized by the Independent Think Tank “Expert-Grup” in cooperation with the Center for European Political Studies (CEPS) and will take place online and shall be held into English. See agenda

Online publication: Decentralisation and Local Public Administration Reform in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine

Online publication: Decentralisation and Local Public Administration Reform in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine: Learning from the past – preparing for the future by Schantl et al. 

The Publication and Status Reports on the Progress of Decentralisation Reform in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine aim to consolidate lessons learned over three decades of reform and help the local government associations prepare for the reform next steps in their countries. Read more

Report: The UN Common Country Analysis for the Republic of Moldova 2020

Report: The UN Common Country Analysis for the Republic of Moldova 2020 by the UN Moldova Country Team

The United Nations Common Country Analysis for The Republic of Moldova (UN CCA) analyses the country’s socio-economic development and political context, along with critical challenges and root causes, and has been conducted jointly by United Nations organizations working in the Republic of Moldova. Read more

28/01/21: Danube Governance Conference – SAVE THE DATE!

28/01/21, 9:00 – 17:00 (CET) Online event: Danube Governance Conference: “Towards European integration with the SDGs” – SAVE THE DATE!

The Danube Governance Conference: Towards European integration with the SDGs is the final event of the program Building Administrative Capacities in the Danube Region (BACID).

It will gather stakeholders to discuss the topics identified as priorities in improving governance in the countries of the Western Balkans and the Republic of Moldova on their way towards European integration and how the Sustainable Development Goals support this process. This event will bring together partners from public institutions, think tanks and civil society organizations from the whole Danube Region, as well as representatives of the EU and international organizations that are supporting European integration and public administration reforms in the Western Balkans and the Republic of Moldova. Read more

Journal Article: The European Union’s ‘Potential We’ between Acceptance and Contestation

Journal Article: The European Union’s ‘Potential We’ between Acceptance and Contestation: Assessing the Positioning of Six Eastern Partnership Countries by Vieira

In this journal article, Vieira analyses the European neighbourhood policy and the Eastern Partnership (EaP) from the perspective of social identity theory.  Drawing on the framing analysis of strategic documents and statements, which identifies eight distinct themes, the contribution ascertains three different patterns of EaP states’ interaction with the EU: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine accepting the ‘EU’s potential we’, Armenia holding to the potential we, and Azerbaijan, as well as Belarus, contesting the potential we. Read more