Promoting accountability in the developing world

If Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants reassurance that developing countries are willing to meet G8-acceptable standards of accountability, he need look no further than the list of participants attending the 2007 International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET).

One-third of the participants at this year’s program originate from Africa and are directly involved in the evaluation of development programming.

IPDET trains mid- and senior-level development managers and evaluators, and it is delivered jointly by the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank and Carleton University. The program is an opportunity for participants to acquire a basic knowledge of development evaluation concepts, processes and methods, or to upgrade their existing understanding and skills.

Trainees can attend a combination of courses in the program, which offers a two-week core course on the fundamentals of evaluation and two workshop weeks.

This year, 200 individuals from more than 65 countries attended the training, which took place on campus from June 11 to July 6. According to CarletonProgram Manager Barbara Levine, governments and civil society organizations that used to send only one or two participants are now enrolling three to eight.

She attributes this increase to the growing demand for evaluation in the developing world—both from donors (e.g. development banks and nongovernmental organizations) and the citizens and parliaments of those countries that receive official development assistance.

First-time IPDET participant Lilian Shamakamba is a manager of public health planning and development for the Zambian Ministry of Health. he is currently participating in an International Development Research Centre (IDRC) pilot project designed to link health research to policy development.

Shamakamba’s goal for her four-week training was simple: to learn how to evaluate the relevance and effectiveness of the health promotion and disease prevention programs she manages.

“We receive funding for a number of initiatives, but right now we have no way of knowing which strategies actually help us reach our targets and which do not,” she says.

With a system of monitoring and evaluation in place, her team will be able to develop
action plans that include only effective strategies. This will ultimately result in a better use of available resources.

Doha Abdelhamid is a professor of finance at American University in Cairo and a senior policy advisor to Egypt’s cabinet of ministers. She is also an IPDET alumna and instructor. She believes that the program is a catalyst for better governance and democracy as well as greater accountability because program attendees are encouraged to adopt participatory techniques in monitoring and evaluation.

“Participation relies on input from all stakeholders, including the underprivileged, poor and minorities,” she states. “By training managers to listen to many voices, IPDET is contributing to the development of a democratic culture in those countries receiving aid.”

Bono versus Harper
June 8, 2007

  • At the G8 summit, musician and anti-poverty activist Bono accuses Canada’s Prime Minister Harper of blocking the US$60 billion in aid to Africa promised by the leading industrialized nations in 2005. He says Harper is holding up the flow of cash by delaying the wording on accountability.
  • Harper denies the charge, stating that Canada is meeting its 2005 aid targets and that countries receiving assistance need to meet standards of accountability, good governance and democracy.
  • This entry was written by Martha Attridge Bufton and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: , . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media:

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