Evaluation has been integral to IFC’s results measurement since 2005, when IFC first began working with external evaluators to generate useful lessons and produce impartial assessments of development effectiveness. By revealing the factors for success or failure, evaluations help us understand what we need to do more of—and less of—to achieve IFC’s mission.
IFC’s investment in evaluation has grown rapidly, and we now have more than 20 evaluations ongoing at any given time, covering both investment and advisory services. Our evaluations are undertaken at project, programmatic, and/or thematic levels, as well as at the level of donor-funded facilities, countries, and regions.
In 2011, we launched an evaluation strategy focused on maximizing opportunities for learning. The strategy has four main objectives: (1) to credibly articulate IFC’s development impact; (2) to learn how to maximize the effectiveness of IFC interventions; (3) to provide useful business intelligence to clients and partners; and (4) to exchange knowledge with external actors.
These strategic objectives shape our evaluation work program. Our portfolio of evaluations is selected to address knowledge gaps, learn lessons from successful and unsuccessful initiatives, assess operations never before evaluated, and deliver evaluation services to interested clients. In particular, the new strategy focuses attention on the poverty-reduction and job-creation effects of our work that typically cannot be captured by monitoring and tracking alone.
Most evaluations are led by external evaluation experts, supervised by IFC evaluation specialists, and draw on best-practice approaches. IFC conducts impact evaluations (including randomized control trials and quasi-experimental designs), process evaluations, meta-evaluations, and other types of evaluative exercises as well. Evaluations are planned and implemented in partnership with staff across IFC and integrated into project and program design, early in the lifecycle.
The new evaluation strategy complements the work of the Independent Evaluation Group — which reports directly to the Board of Directors and is charged with providing its own assessments and lessons of experience. IEG’s evaluations incorporate findings from IFC’s own monitoring and evaluations. IFC’s evaluation staff works closely with IEG to discuss work programs, share knowledge, and align efforts whenever possible.