Ethiopia is to launch its first national level monitoring and evaluation policy.
The Prime Minister issued an order this week for the National Planning Commission to begin the development of a National Monitoring and Evaluation Policy. The policy will provide the guidelines for the monitoring and evaluation process of all government projects and offices around the country.
To date, monitoring and evaluation policies and guidelines have been drafted and enacted by ministries and offices at the regional state level, and are being implemented within administrative frameworks down to the wereda level. This new policy will address the monitoring and evaluation of offices and projects at the national level. A national-level policy for monitoring and evaluation did not previously exist.
“The lack of this kind of policy led to there being no accountability and no responsibility for the gaps that were seen at the national level,” said Commissioner Yinager Dessie (PhD), National Planning Commission.
Monitoring and evaluation is a crucial component of efficiency and development. The UNDP defines monitoring and evaluation as a process that helps improve performance and achieve results.
The policy is currently still at the early planning stages, although discussions will be held later with both private and public sector representatives.
The Prime Minister’s proposed new policy is being planned not only as a national tool, but as a starting point to improve the regional governments own guidelines and present M and E policies.
“The national level policy will serve as a prototype for regional governments and ministries,” Yinager said. “They will be able to use the parts that are appropriate for them and adjust it to the needs of their own areas and offices.”
Although there are many good policies that are being enacted by the government, many of them suffer from a lack of follow-up and implementation at lower administrative levels.
“Sometimes policies get distorted when they reach lower administrative levels,” said Wolday Amha (PhD), head of the Association of Ethiopian Microfinance Institutions.
“Policies like this may help to combat issues of implementation and responsibility when national policies are implemented at the local level.”
While the new M&E policy has its supporters, there are still a few who are skeptical about its potential efficacy.
“There are so many policies like this that come and go. None of them bring about any real change,” said a political commentator who wished to remain anonymous. “It will be interesting to see if this is the one that makes a difference in accountability.”
Wolday takes a different view. “Policies like this are a positive thing,” he said. “Setting Monitoring and Evaluation requirements out in laws and policies may ensure that national projects take it seriously.”
Wolday cited the example of the Federal Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, which implemented regular monitoring and evaluation of its projects, departments and employees as a success of the current system.
“However, ensuring that project success are replicated on every level is important and this policy will contribute,” he added.
The National Planning Commission was set up in 2013, to strengthen the country’s policy planning and coherence. Prior to the NPC’s inception, its mandate was under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Until late 2015, the Commission was led by Mekonnen Manyazewal. No date has yet been set for the release of a draft of the policy.
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