Swedish Development Cooperation in Transition? Lessons and Reflections from 71 Sida Decentralised Evaluations

This report presents the findings of a review undertaken by Indevelop of 71 decentralised evaluations of Swedish development cooperation carried out during 2011-2013. The objective of the review is to synthesise findings and identify lessons of relevance for learning within Sida and its cooperation partners, to strengthen management for results and improve Swedish development cooperation.

The review highlights successes and deficiencies in relation to results, the processes by which these results are pursued, and the ways that efforts to achieve results are included in programme design, and are managed, monitored and evaluated. The findings show that Sida's efforts to enhance RBM have had mixed impact.

Sweden has a unique and important role as a donor that takes capacity development seriously and significant outcomes appear to have been achieved. However, a lack of awareness of Sida's conceptual framework, among partners and Sida itself, coupled with weak outcome monitoring, have meant that it is difficult to judge results and learn how to improve performance.

The evaluations show that policy compliance receives limited attention in programmes and is seldom monitored. The perspectives of the poor are notably weak, and environmental sustainability is almost always seen as a sectoral concern rather than a cross-cutting theme. There has been some strong commitment and considerable success in addressing gender equality in some countries and programmes, but results are highly uneven.

Sida Studies in Evaluation 2013:1
Commissioned by Sida, Unit for Monitoring and Evaluations in cooperation with Indevelop

Authors: Ian Christoplos, Anna Liljelund Hedqvist and Jessica Rothman