14.02.2019 - Evaluating in contexts of fragility
More than half of the cooperation countries of German development cooperation are affected by conflict, fragility and violence in their territory or in certain regions. Fragility – weak or inadequate state authority, capacity and legitimacy – poses considerable challenges for the implementation of development measures and their evaluation. At the same time, the share of development cooperation with fragile states is steadily increasing.
In a talk on ‘Principles of Evaluation in Contexts of Fragility, Conflict and Violence’ on 18 January 2019 at DEval, Hur Hassnain discussed how to deal with the challenges associated with evaluating development measures in fragile contexts.
According to Hassnain, who has been conducting evaluations in fragile regions for more than 15 years, flexible planning that takes particular account of the fragile context is a key issue here. This includes a detailed conflict analysis in order to gain a better understanding of stakeholders and of areas, dynamics and causes of conflict. Due to the high degree of instability and unpredictability of the situation and the complex networks between stakeholders, linear planning approaches often cannot be applied when carrying out evaluations in fragile contexts. For staff in the field, the high risk of violence means that they need to take particular precautions and develop appropriate behaviour. This also involves the careful selection of methods, which must be sensitive to gender relations and conflict potential to ensure that staff and interviewees are not endangered.
Hassnain emphasised that fragility may be a temporary state. Evaluations can heighten conflicts, but they also have the potential to help resolve them. It is therefore all the more important to him to feed the results of the evaluations back into the community in which the interviewees live and to disseminate and use the results to facilitate joint learning and achieve improvements.
Hur Hassnain is an evaluator and chair of the IDEAS Thematic Interest Group on Evaluation in Fragility, Conflict and Violence (EvalFCV).