Governance and Nationbuilding

Governance and Nationbuilding

The Failure of International Intervention

Kate Jenkins and William Plowden

Governance and Nationbuilding describes how aid donors have attempted to improve the performance of government in developing countries and countries in crisis. Kate Jenkins and William Plowden review the widespread lack of success, tracing the history of international government intervention, the roles of donors and recipient countries, the ways in which expert advice and support have been provided, and the donors’ own evaluation of their work.

Chapter 6: Evaluation and Outcome

Kate Jenkins and William Plowden

Subjects: development studies, development studies, politics and public policy, international politics, international relations, public policy, regulation and governance


As we have seen, the donors spend billions of dollars intervening in government. Much of the work for which they pay is done at arm’s length and thousands of miles from head office. Many hundreds of subcontractors are involved. Relationships are three-way, involving donor, client and contractor, with scope for misunderstandings of language, culture and objectives. Most donors are spending public money. They need to have a means of managing what happens and of assessing that they get what they pay for. In theory the process of evaluation should help recipients and donors keep track of what is happening and assess the outcomes. OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, regarded by many as the overseer of the development process, has defined evaluation as ‘systematic and objective measurement of an ongoing or completed project, programme or policy, its design, implementation and results’ (OECD, 2001a). Evaluation and management are intertwined. Donors have, in principle, taken the need for evaluation seriously. They recognize that they need to know whether or not their interventions are justified or useful. They need to know whether, on balance, their activities are doing more good than harm and that the benefits are proportional to the resource costs, both for donors and recipients. Donors also need to know, given that they are likely to fund many similar programmes in future, whether the same kind of intervention should be attempted in similar situations, and whether they can generalize from a particular experience. EVALUATION AND CONTRACT MANAGEMENT The management of a contract and...

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