Improving Peacebuilding Evaluation

Published: 
June 20, 2011
By: 
Andrew Blum

In May 2010, the Alliance for Peacebuilding in collaboration with the United States Institute of Peace launched the Peacebuilding Evaluation Project. The goal of the project was to foster collaboration among funders, implementers, and policymakers to improve evaluation practice in the peacebuilding field. This report is inspired by the deep and far-ranging conversations that took place at the meetings.

Summary

  • The effective evaluation of peacebuilding programs is essential if the field is to learn what constitutes effective and ineffective practice and to hold organizations accountable for using good practice and avoiding bad practice.
  • In the field of peacebuilding evaluation, good progress has been made on the intellectual front. There are now clear guidelines, frameworks, and tool kits to guide practitioners who wish to initiate an evaluation process within the peacebuilding field.
  • Despite this, progress in improving peacebuilding evaluation itself has slowed over the past several years. The cause of this is a set of interlocking problems in the way the peacebuilding field is organized. These in turn create systemic problems that hinder effective evaluation and the utilization of evaluation results.
  • The Peacebuilding Evaluation Project, organized by USIP and the Alliance for Peacebuilding, brought funders and implementers together to work on solutions to the systemic problems in peacebuilding work. This report discusses these solutions, which are grouped into three categories: building consensus, strengthening norms, and disrupting practice and creating alternatives. Several initiatives in each of these categories are already under way.

About the Report

In May 2010, the Alliance for Peacebuilding in collaboration with the United States Institute of Peace launched the Peacebuilding Evaluation Project. Over the course of a year, the project held a series of four meetings in Washington, DC. The goal of the project was to foster collaboration among funders, implementers, and policymakers to improve evaluation practice in the peacebuilding field. This report is inspired by the deep and far-ranging conversations that took place at the meetings. Its central argument is that whole-of-field approaches designed to address systemic challenges are necessary if the practice of peacebuilding evaluation is to progress.

About the Author

Andrew Blum is a senior program officer in the USIP Grant Program. Within the Grant Program, he oversees USIP’s Sudan North-South Border Initiative and the Communication for Peacebuilding Priority Grant Competition. He cofacilitated each of the Peacebuilding Evaluation Project meetings.

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June 20, 2011