EVOLUTION OF THE UNIT
STAFFING & RECRUITMENT
SINERGIA has 40 staff who work across the four teams (monitoring, evaluation, territorial, and the new SDG team). In the evaluation team, there are seven leaders in charge of supervising evaluation contracts. A team of six economists also perform replications, render data anonymous and carry out internal evaluations with administrative data.
Staff turnaround is an issue. For example, staff in the evaluation team frequently leave the team to work as external evaluators. To ensure good knowledge management, processes are documented very carefully for new members. Another issue is that many staff members are hired as consultants and therefore are more likely to leave.
The procurement process for evaluations is open and to increase transparency anyone can see a proposal. SINERGIA puts out a tender to the private sector, NGOs, universities and research organisations. Most applicants are Colombian consulting firms from the private sector. Foreign teams can be hired, but the majority are based in-country.
KNOWLEDGE SHARING & COMMUNICATIONS
SINERGIA recently launched a new communications strategy. It asks evaluators to look at different ways to deliver results for different audiences, such as using videos, animations or infographics. For example, an animation to give the public key facts on the progress of Colombia’s National Plan and its work on the SDGs.
Once an evaluation is finalised, the consultant will present the findings to the relevant minister or vice minister. This will be done as a presentation, but frequently the session starts with a short video or infographic that synthesises the key messages. This ensures that even if the minister has to leave early, he or she has seen a snapshot of the work. Other more detailed meetings and presentations also take place with minsters’ advisors. A final report is published around the same time and made public on the SINERGIA website.
EVOLUTION OF THE UNIT
The website clearly defines all the areas that the unit works on, as well as key definitions and terminology for non-specialist audiences.
Following recommendations from an external evaluation of SINERGIA, the unit is committed to open data. With the help of the World Bank, it now allows open access to all evaluation data. It is hoped that data will be shared internationally, for example, at international conferences.
BUILDING DEMAND FOR EVIDENCE
SINERGIA aims to build capacity for the use of evidence in multiple ways. Strategies include working with external organisations to build capacity through training, such as the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3IE), the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and Innovation for Poverty Action (IPA). Examples include courses and conferences on evaluation, impact evaluations and systematic reviews. Government entities and local actors are frequently invited to attend to learn more.
SINERGIA provides technical support to ministries and government agencies to help them carry out their own evaluations, or to develop their own evaluation teams, but this support depends on the in-house capacity.