Country-led M&E Systems, Part 2: Colombia’s SINERGIA

This post is the second of a two-part series on country-led M&E systems.  Read the first post for an introduction to the topic.

It serves to look at a well-executed example of country-led M&E systems to understand the benefits and challenges.  Here, I give you Colombia’s SINERGIA as a case study:

Interestingly, Colombia’s M&E system SINERGIA is actually constitutionally mandated.  From an ‘effective states’ perspective, this is perhaps the most important aspect of SINERGIA, because it binds the government by law to provide evidence of the success/failures of their social programs.

Regarding active citizenship, the SINERGIA model includes partnerships with civic organizations, helping to create the Colombia Líder Initiative.  And the results are promising: in just three years, the government officials’ monitoring dashboards were visited 6 times more frequently by government officials, and 7 times more by citizens.

Drawing upon monitoring data is of course useful for policy-making, but the evaluation of public policy is perhaps even more crucial for evidence-based decision making.  Within SINERGIA, the Sistema Nacional de Evaluaciones (SISDEVAL) is responsible for conducting external evaluations, which includes impact evaluations.

Additional challenges lie ahead for the country’s evidenced-based management strategy, but Colombia has made incredible strides as a leader in Latin America of institutionalized M&E.   Citizens and local evaluation-enthusiasts from other countries can follow in Colombia’s footsteps first by forming a national network of M&E professionals.  The existence of Colombia’s own network was helpful for promoting government use of M&E, as the strengthening of local talent helped keep costs down when hiring expertise was necessary to establish the government’s M&E system.

For some more information on Latin American M&E networks, check out REDLACME and don’t forget to attend next year’s conference hosted by the Latin American Impact Evaluation Network.

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