Bidding farewell to Climate-Eval

Today officially marks my last day at the GEF EO, and subsequently as moderator of the Climate-Eval community of practice. My two-year term came and went so quickly. In-between those two years, however, are some learning and insights worth highlighting in my final blog post as Climate-Eval Moderator.

I have a confession to make: I am not an evaluator. While I have worked with Climate-Eval members, a big number of whom are evaluators, I myself have never conducted an evaluation. Thus, I had to learn on the job. And learning about evaluation, as in any endeavor, has been challenging albeit rewarding. This has squarely complemented my previous country-level experience in project and policy analysis in the environment sector and climate change. Reviewing how national policies and programs could be designed to increase their success rate is complex enough. Yet understanding and determining whether they were indeed successful is not any easier. Climate change and its compounding issues of complexity and uncertainty pose challenges to this end.

Part of my work as moderator was to draft approach papers and manage research studies on how evaluations are being conducted and how they could be improved. This entailed rummaging through work of development cooperation agencies, think-tanks and academics on indicators, evaluation reports, and other related literature. As our community of practice progresses and has finished three studies looking at evaluation frameworks, guidelines and tools, it has become apparent that to come up with evaluation standards and norms, more work and collaboration with other networks and organizations is needed.

I applied for and took on this job primarily for two reasons. It involved work in the field of environment and climate change, and online media. While the internet facilitated online communication which proved very useful for Climate-Eval members who are dispersed all over the globe, this type of interaction still possesses some inherent limitations. Emails and webinars lacked the personal touch of face-to-face communication. During my official travels I had the fortune of attending, I finally met several of our members. This virtual to real exchange somehow became the model for getting to know and connecting with members beyond Skype calls and webinar discussions. I was an observer and participant to meaningful discussions that arose from this model. Upon meeting some members in person, virtual acquaintances gradually turn to personal connections.

We may have a lofty goal in our community to improve our knowledge and skills in conducting high-quality evaluations for climate change and development interventions, but it's one that is necessary. It holds all of us accountable as actors for the work that we do, be they the introduction of energy efficient light bulbs or minimizing disastrous impacts of natural calamities.

As I write this, the search for the new moderator is still in progress. Yet I encourage everyone to continue the interesting discussions in our Linkedin Group and start interacting with the new moderator as soon as he or she takes on the role I'm leaving. As a new moderator comes on board, so will exciting developments in our community which we should all look forward to and engage in. I am bidding farewell as Climate-Eval Moderator, but I will remain a member of our community and look forward to its future pursuits.

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