United Nations Children's Fund
United Nations Children's Fund
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) strives to build a world where the rights of every child are realized. Promoting children's well-being worldwide, the organization works in various areas including fighting poverty, violence, disease and discrimination at the grass-roots as well as through work on policies, programmes and advocacy. UNICEF was created in 1946 and became a permanent part of the UN System in 1953. Its headquarters are in New York. As of June 2015, UNICEF had 12,386 staff members and the organization's expenditure was $4.868 Billion in 2014.
Evaluation in UNICEF has the purpose of providing timely, objective, and focused information on its various activities to improve the well-being of children and women. Assessments of impact, effectiveness, efficiency and relevance support transparency and accountability and provide UNICEF with reliable evidence for learning, decision-making and advocacy. As noted in two external peer reviews of UNICEF's evaluation function and development effectiveness, two of the distinguishing features of the function are its decentralized nature and the use of evaluation for advocacy. The evaluation function at UNICEF has 338 staff members including 323 decentralized staff. It has spent $20,305,421 on evaluation activities until the end of June 2015, corresponding to 0.5% of UNICEF's total programme expenditure.
Across UNICEF, various kinds of evaluation are carried out including local or project, country programme of cooperation, regional, global strategic and institutional performance evaluations along with global thematic evaluations and efforts in joint evaluation. UNICEF's current evaluation policy was approved in 2013.
The central Evaluation Office serves as steward of the evaluation function, steering the development of evaluation policy, strategy and systems, including evaluation quality assurance processes. It also commissions major global thematic evaluations conducted mainly by evaluation consultants, and undertakes capacity development within and outside the organization, including the design and conduct of training courses.
Promoting a Culture of Evaluation within UNICEF
The decentralized nature of the evaluation function is a reflection of UNICEF's commitment to spread an evaluation culture throughout the organization and its work with partners. Designated UNICEF staff at regional- and country-level dedicate time to monitoring and evaluation activities.
A number of training courses are available to UNICEF staff on Results-based Management and Monitoring & Evaluation. Extensive guidance material is available on UNICEF's intranet, much of it tailored specifically to UNICEF's needs. The My M&E web portal with its various guidance and training materials, toolkits and other evaluation resources is also widely used within the organization.
o Delivery of useful, timely high quality evaluations across UNICEF
o Effective utilization of evaluations and evaluation evidence
o National evaluation capacity development
Human Resources (as of 30 June 2015)
Evaluation Office: F=female, M=male
o Director: M
o Evaluators (not including director): Total=15 (F=8 and M=7; Three vacant posts)
o Support staff : Total =3 (F)
Other staff :
o Staff with evaluation responsibilities: Total =323 (F=137 and M=186)
Evaluation expenditure for UNICEF's Evaluation Office (excluding staff costs) in 2014
Evaluations produced in 2014
o by central unit: 5
o by decentralized units: 83
Key resource: web link/key documents
UNICEF's Evaluation Office (EO) is located at UNICEF's headquarters in New York. It is independent of operations and programmes in UNICEF. The director of the Evaluation Office reports to UNICEF's Executive Board on evaluations and administratively reports to UNICEF's Executive Director. The director of the Evaluation Office manages the funds allocated to the office. Evaluation reports of the Evaluation Office are issued under the authority of the director. The office focuses strongly on the promotion of an enabling environment for evaluation, impartiality of evaluators and accessibility of evaluation information.
The Evaluation Office prepares an annual report on the evaluation function, which is presented to the Executive Board, ensuring oversight and accountability of the function.
Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning
For global thematic evaluations, a 2014-2017 evaluation plan was prepared by the Evaluation Office, reflecting the strategic priorities of the organization. This work programme is submitted to the governing body for information and is available online. The selection of corporate evaluations (including evaluation syntheses and methodological reviews) followed a consultative process.
At the decentralized level, UNICEF's regional and country offices currently prepare annual monitoring and evaluation plans which are approved at those levels. Following a recent decision by the UNICEF Executive Board (February 2014), costed evaluation plans will now accompany every Country Programme Document presented to the Board.
Stakeholder Involvement and Promoting National Evaluation Capacity Development
Promoting stakeholder involvement in evaluation is a key aspect of UNICEF's evaluation work. UNICEF Performance Standards for Evaluation recommend setting up reference groups for all major evaluations and ensuring that all voices, including those of the most vulnerable populations, are heard in evaluation exercises. The My M&E site, a partnership web platform initiated by UNICEF, includes learning modules on involving and engaging various stakeholders from beneficiaries to programme staff to agency officials at different stages of evaluation.
UNICEF places strong emphasis on developing national evaluation capacity, which includes not only strengthening the evaluation systems of national governments but also those of civil society partners. Various guidance materials including a conceptual framework for national evaluation capacity development are publicly available. UNICEF has also organized a series of webinars and online trainings on equity-focused evaluations open to internal and external interested stakeholders.
UNICEF's Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System (GEROS) is a tool for assessing the quality of decentralized and central evaluation reports along various dimensions. Stakeholder analysis is included as a section in the assessment along with equity, gender and human rights dimensions. These quality assessments are carried out by an independent external company and reported on in UNICEF's annual evaluation report which is available online.
UNEG Norms and Standards and UNEG checklists for ToR/inception reports guide the in-house peer review and quality assurance work of Advisory Groups on evaluations undertaken by the Evaluation Office.
Use of Evaluation
Most UNICEF evaluation reports are available online through an evaluation database which is searchable by date, country, region and thematic area. Efforts are made to extract lessons from evaluations and communicate these within and outside the organization in the form of information briefs, abstracts, press releases, workshops and meetings with senior management, staff and stakeholders.
Within UNICEF, Management Responses to evaluations are issued by the head of the unit responsible for activities evaluated. These responses are managed through the use of a Management Response Matrix (MRM) as well as an Action Plan (AP). Both management and the central evaluation unit monitor the implementation of recommendations. Quarterly monitoring reports are sent to the chief executive and senior management.
Evaluating as One - Working Together in the UN System
UNICEF has provided leadership and support to the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG), not only at the headquarters level, but also through several regional initiatives and, at the country level, through United Nations country team monitoring and evaluation working groups. UNICEF participates actively in UNEG work and contributes funding and technical inputs to key UNEG efforts. Additionally, UNICEF continues to support joint / multi-agency evaluations at both global and country levels. UNEG guidance materials are promoted for use within UNICEF.
Sr. Evaluation Specialist, UNICEF
Programme Assistant, UNICEF
Evaluation Specialist, UNICEF
Evaluation Specialist (WASH), UNICEF
Senior Evaluation Specialist - Humanitarian, UNICEF
Knowledge Management Specialist, UNICEF
Regional Advisor, Monitoring and Evaluation, UNICEF
Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia
Senior Evaluation Specialist, UNICEF
Regional Evaluation Adviser, UNICEF
East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office