CLEAR Board Chair’s Message
Fiscal year 2017 (FY17) was an exciting year for the CLEAR program—a year of enhanced strategic planning and stronger business orientation.
The Centers were yet again very busy! Together they delivered capacity-building services to 23,954 individuals, compared to 13,000 last year. Their activities focused mostly on government clients; of the 185 total activities delivered, close to 50 percent of total CLEAR activities were primarily aimed at serving government-sector clients, 26 percent at M&E networks and civil society groups including NGOs, and 11 percent at academia. Other client segments reached by the Centers included the private sector, donor institutions, and non-academic researchers such as those in think tanks.
This wide breadth of client segments was purposefully targeted by the Centers to increase their influence at all three levels of Evaluation Capacity Development (ECD): the enabling environment, the organization, and the individual. This is an integral element of the “CLEAR Way”: creating systemic change at all ECD levels to increase the use of evidence in decision making.
In addition, this year, each Center sought to move away from one-off activities to create a portfolio of activities that worked together to help it achieve its strategic goals. Four of the six Centers now have detailed business plans to guide their decision making. This marks an important change in the way business is done at CLEAR. Each Center implemented a strategy to serve clients based on their local or regional context and based on strengths Centers have built from past experiences. This resulted in as many training courses or workshops as knowledge-sharing activities such as panel discussions and policy dialogues this year. This shift in the mix of activities from a primary focus on training in previous years is a result of past years’ proactive and deliberate efforts to share what CLEAR has been learning on monitoring and evaluation and ECD with other ECD stakeholders.
Several of this year’s outcome stories are supported by data collected through tracer surveys—surveys that were sent out several months after the delivery of an activity to understand what the outcome-level changes were, and to answer questions such as “Were objectives met?” “Were recommendations adopted?” and “What improvements did this lead to?” The data from the tracer surveys have led to greater outcome orientation in the stories this year as compared to last year. Meanwhile, more than 80 percent of clients across the program continue to rate CLEAR services high on quality, usefulness, and increase in knowledge and skills.
It has been one year since I became CLEAR CEO and Chair of CLEAR, and I am deeply impressed with the commitment and drive demonstrated by the CLEAR Centers. The successes of this year pave the way for FY18, a transition year during which we will finalize Phase 3 of CLEAR. I am looking forward to the exciting changes ahead as we build our sustainability plans and embark on a new fundraising effort. I am confident that the success so far of the CLEAR program will generate more success, and that new partners will join us on the CLEAR journey.