The evaluation is a critical first step in programmes and projects management. Such evaluations provide answers to such questions as i. what progresses if any has been achieved?, ii. have the expected results been achieved?, iii. do the results justify the input?, iv. can the system be refined or modified to improve results?
Programme/Project Evaluation is the process of collecting, recording and organising information about performance including short-term outputs (immediate results of activities), and the immediate and longer-term outcomes following changes in behaviour, practice or policy). There are many reasons for project evaluations. Central to programme/project evaluation is the need for effective, efficient and equitable utilisation of resources and the identification of bottlenecks and essential factors to successful realise the objectives with maximum impact. Evaluations also serve as validations of the programme/project for its partners and stakeholders that the stated outputs, outcomes, impact and objectives are being achieved.
There are many factors for carrying out comprehensive and credible programme/project evaluations. These could be divided broadly into two categories these being, i. for presentation when funding is requested and ii. for organisational sustainability. Regarding access to funding the reports are an advocacy and PR tool demonstrating good progress and therefore justification for continued funding or, alternatively, where an underperformance is highlighted, the need for additional resources to bring about the necessary improvement. Regarding organisational sustainability, proper and thorough evaluations will serve as an excellent tool to identify those areas which require modification therefore strengthening the organisation and ensuring its sustainability.