Programme Implementers’ Experiences of Evaluation Use in Northern Ghana
Programme evaluation use has been a subject of immense discussion among evaluation practitioners, policy makers and evaluation researchers. This paper contributes to the subject from the perspective of programme implementers in an aid recipient setting. Following an analysis of 27 programmes and 52 evaluation participants in Northern Ghana, we found that programme implementers have a high expectation of evaluation to assist improve their programmes. Programme evaluation was helpful in boosting the effectiveness of learning in programmes as evidenced by the concrete examples of evaluation use at individual, organisational and programme levels. Some of these uses included increased collaboration among different organisations and staff at different levels, inculcating evaluative thinking among programme staff, increased understanding and commitment to the programme and its protocols as well as changes in organisational arrangements for better service delivery. Process use was identified but in a limited extent because it was not consciously facilitated in evaluations. It also emerged that donor needs of evaluation for accountability and programme staff need of evaluation for programme improvement were not mutually exclusive. Interesting findings came to light on factors affecting evaluation use as well as what evaluators should do to facilitate use.
Key Words: Evaluation, Evaluation Theory, Programme Evaluation, Evaluation Use, Factors Affecting Evaluation Use, Northern Ghana