National Planning Department, Colombia
The Colombian government’s commitment to monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is written into its constitution. SINERGIA, the government’s M&E unit, is located within the Department of National Planning and is managed by the Director of the Public Policy Monitoring and Evaluation Office. SINERGIA works with Ministers and programme implementers to develop and implement government-supported evaluations, in an effort to assist policymakers in making evidenced-informed decisions and to improve the level of information available for stakeholders throughout the country. SINERGIA undertakes a range of evaluations, including impact evaluations, and also evaluates institutional arrangements, processes within policies or programmes, and results from a policy, when its impact is not quantifiable. SINERGIA’s evaluations are typically conducted by research organisations in Colombia or consulting firms. Since 2010, SINERGIA has had a standardized and participatory process for the design, development and dissemination of evaluations included in the National Evaluation Agenda.
Overview of 3ie engagement
SINERGIA’s engagement with 3ie began in 2011 when both participated in a meeting on managing for development results in South Korea. During these discussions, the Director of SINERGIA explained that Colombia and the region had evaluators who could conduct government-commissioned impact evaluations. However, the Colombian Government wanted to further build capacity by bringing in internationally qualified researchers to work with the local teams, so the 3ie’s Policy Window Advanced (PWA) grants programme was a perfect match for it. 3ie and SINERGIA worked together to develop the PWA model, and three awards have been made so far for Colombia. SINERGIA has been an active member of 3ie and has supported other 3ie members by chairing the 2015 Members Conference Steering Committee and hosting study tours.
Examples of engagement
- 3ie governance: SINERGIA member representatives chaired the 2015 Members Conference Steering Committee, working with members and 3ie staff to conceptualise and carry out a successful peer learning event.
- Policy Window Advanced: 3ie awarded three consulting contracts for expert advisors to provide assistance to three local research organisations conducting SINERGIA-commissioned impact evaluations on three topics: i) provision of Internet access (2015), ii) subsidized housing (2014) and iii) expanded health insurance (2014).
- 3ie services: 3ie staff presented a workshop on impact evaluation methods to SINERGIA staff in 2013.
- Bursary Programme: A SINERGIA researcher attended the 8th meeting of the Impact Evaluation Network at the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association through 3ie’s Bursary Programme and gained insight about impact evaluation designs that were relevant to her work.
We used 3ie’s advanced policy window to bring in international impact evaluation experts to build the capacity of some Colombian firms to do the evaluation. This helped us identify challenges posed by different evaluation methods; have more rigorous evaluation designs; and get expert feedback on designs and methods. We also used more innovative methods and increased the visibility of Colombian evaluations in the international academic community.