Monitoring Progress, Evaluating Programs, and Using Information in Complex, High-Threat Environments: USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives
With George Wilson, Monitoring and Evaluation Adviser for USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives
Tuesday, July 9, 2013 | 12noon – 1:30pm
At the Marvin Center of the George Washington University
800 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20052 | Room 403
If you have any questions, contact Robert Medina at firstname.lastname@example.org
USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) operates transitional programs in complex environments, in circumstances that pose enormous difficulties for monitoring and evaluation. OTI programs aim to stabilize transitional environments and move political transitions forward in a positive manner; thus program teams change objectives frequently in order to address new challenges. OTI puts as much or more importance on process and perceptions as on tangible products, so success is difficult to quantify. OTI operates in volatile environments, making experimental evaluations, linear cause/effect relations, and solid attribution difficult if not impossible. An OTI country program creates hundreds if not thousands of short-term activities, so determining the aggregate outcome is difficult. And because each political transition is so different from every other transition, OTI has not had an out-of-the-box monitoring and evaluation system to apply everywhere.
Over the last couple of years, OTI has developed a set of M+E standards to answer these challenges without being overly rigid. These standards offer flexibility, emphasize usefulness and real-time data collection and analysis, and provide evidence of plausible contribution in the absence of counterfactuals. In this presentation, George Wilson will discuss the unique context in which OTI works and how OTI's M+E systems address those challenges.
Presenter: George Wilson is Monitoring and Evaluation Adviser for USAID/OTI. He advises OTI country programs on monitoring systems, evaluation designs, learning, data gathering techniques, and integrating internal and external evaluations. He has rewritten OTI's structures for evaluation using complexity theory, developmental evaluation, and utilization-focused evaluation models. He has previously worked at the State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative, and for dozens of grass roots NGOs throughout Israel and the Palestinian Territories. His work has also taken him to Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Zimbabwe, and Japan. He holds an MS in International Development Management from American University, and a BA from The Evergreen State College.