29.03.2019 - Interview: Strengthening Evaluation Capacity in Latin America
Since 2014, DEval has been collaborating closely with the government of Costa Rica on strengthening the country’s evaluation capacity. After assisting the country in setting up a national evaluation system, DEval is now entering a new cooperation with the Costa Rican Ministry of Planning, this time aiming to strengthen the role of evaluation in policy-making throughout Latin America. We talked with Florita Azofeifa (director of the department for monitoring and evaluation) and Eddy Garcia (head of the evaluation unit of the department for monitoring and evaluation) from the Ministry of Planning during their visit in Bonn.
What have been important milestones in Costa Rica concerning evaluation policy so far?
Azofeifa: Costa Rica has a long history of public institutionalization of evaluation. The country has had an established national planning system for over 60 years, as well as a national evaluation system for more than 20 years. Costa Rica also has a master´s program in evaluation.
Ten years ago we started an evaluation project with Germany concerning Evaluation Capacity Development. With Germany’s experience and Costa Rica‘s long history of institutionalization of evaluation, Costa Rica has been a good place for us to start a common project.
Which were the most important outcomes of the FOCEVAL project for Costa Rica?
Azofeifa: The strengthening of the capacities of the Ministry of Planning and the national evaluation system. This was achieved by different learning processes, among others by establishing a national evaluation platform. The policies that are implemented today are a result of this process as well.
Garcia: The strength of FOCEVAL has been the integration of different actors in the political process, from public institutions, parliament and academia to civil society. The interactions create an openness towards evaluation as well as a bigger consciousness of the possibilities of evaluation as a tool. This has increased the legitimacy of the Ministry of Planning in the country and the region, and the work of the Ministry is now considered as a mark of quality.
How does the new project, FOCELAC, differ from the previous cooperation, and what will be your next steps?
The Costa Rica delegation with DEval's ECD-Team in Bonn
Garcia: We are very proud to continue to work hand in hand with such a prestigious institute as DEval. The new project will differ from our previous cooperation in that the evaluation capacities in Costa Rica are already strengthened and the country is perceived as a country of reference concerning evaluation policies in the region.
Azofeifa: The previous project, FOCEVAL, strengthened evaluation capacity in Costa Rica. This new project will benefit not only Costa Rica but the whole region. We are no longer receivers but find ourselves in the position in which we can give and share and look beyond the borders of our own country. With FOCELAC we will work towards the sustainable development goals of the Agenda 2030. The first task will be to clarify how evaluation can be adapted to this agenda. We look forward to working together with Germany with a common vision for establishing evaluation capacities in other parts of Central and South America.