4.5.1 Engaging Members of Parliament in Development Evaluation

Voluntary Organizations for Professional Evaluation (VOPE) can initiate engaging parliamentarians through formal and informal advocacy and awareness on evaluation and its value to MP. Bring likeminded parliamentarians who are interested together forming a group or a forum. Taking a twin approach work with this group on one end to promote a National Evaluation Policy (NEP) which is institutionalize the concept of evaluation in a country. The other is to train and pilot the use of evaluation in development projects at the electoral level. This hands-on approach will help the MPs to better understand the value of evaluation to them and to their constituency. See the following simple framework to engage parliaments in development evaluation.

Who is a Member of Parliament?

Citizens of a country elect Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their interests and concerns in parliament. Each MP represents an electorate or a group of citizens called a constituency. Therefore and MP works on behalf of his/her constituency.

What is the role of a Parliamentarian?

Members of Parliament have a:

  1. Legislative role making laws to govern a country
  2. Approval of financial appropriations and monitoring them
  3. Supervisory role of executive and other branches of government

Members of Parliament also work in select / sub committees to examine or work on policy issues, scrutinize the work and expenditure of government as well as examine proposals for legislation.

Members of Parliament are obliged to represent their constituency by addressing their concerns, lobbying and implementing development projects and activities in the electorate. In addition, as indicated above they do participate in committees and attend parliament plenary sessions in which they present, discuss and debate on issue of relevance to constituency as well as of national importance. Members of Parliament also actively participate in budget process by scrutinizing annual budgets followed by sectoral committee discussions and reviewing ministerial policy statements. This process gives Members of Parliament to influence the allocation of resources by debating on those allocations proposing priority areas for funding. It is then followed by implementing government programs in their constituencies giving them the oversight responsibility through various committees. These committees have the mandate to oversee government programs, ministries, departments and agencies.

What is Monitoring and Evaluation?

  • Monitoring is the systematic collection, analyses and use of information from projects and programs for the purpose of
    • Understanding and learning from experiences
    • Allocation of resources and its contribution to achieve results
    • Management and decision making purposes
  • Evaluation is the systematic and objective assessment of on-going or completed programs, projects or policy with the purpose of stating the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, and sustainability.

Why Monitoring and Evaluation?

  • Steering  adjust and steering programs and projects towards its objectives
  • Learning  learn more about what works and what does not
  • Decision Making – better informed decisions can be made in allocating resources
  • Monitoring  accounting mechanism for the resources used in meeting objectives and results achieved

How does evaluation help/assist Parliamentarians to fulfill the expected role?

Proper evaluation processes will provide much needed opportunities for greater participation of civil society groups in parliamentary activities, which in turn, improves parliament’s ability to represent the people through effective and efficient management of legislative, budgetary and oversight mandates.

It will create an environment to increase participation of civil society groups to interact with Members of Parliament and improve Members of Parliaments’ willingness to consult with those groups is an excellent means to enhance MP’s ability to represent their constituencies and to ensure that the national planning and budgeting process reflects the needs of the people.

“Evaluation provides us with an opportunity to learn about what is working and what is not working and what we need to do to improve our performance. We must take this opportunity, all of us who are in the public service, to see how we can improve the impacts of the money we spend on our citizens. Our first evaluation on Early Childhood Development has already been completed and the results are being implemented. In this National Evaluation Plan Cabinet has agreed to the top eight priorities for evaluation during 2012/13. These are all significant topics, which can make a significant difference in the lives of our people.” Hon. Ohm Collins Chabane, Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation and Administration, Republic of South Africa, June 2012, Foreword to the National Evaluation Plan 2012-13."

Process of Creating Interest Amongst Parliamentarians on Evaluation.

  • Outreach and communicating what monitoring and evaluation is and its use as a tool to meet constituent expectations.
  • Identification of like minded parliamentarians who see the value of using evaluation as a tool

Examples from selected countries where parliamentarians are engaged in promotion of evaluation: Global Parliamentary Forum for Evaluation

The Global Parliamentary Forum for Development Evaluation was launched by Hon. Kabir Hashim, Minister of Public Enterprise Development, Sri Lanka in November of 2015. The first ever parliamentary forum for development evaluation was established in South Asia, in Nepal in 2013. Ever since the movement has grown and spread across many countries and continents.

Content developed by Pradeep Liyanamana

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