The DAAD is a learning organisation that constantly improves the quality and transparency of its work. In order to do so, the DAAD places an emphasis on the results-oriented planning and monitoring of its programmes. Dialogue with German universities and their partners in developing countries is a key factor in this.
What changes do we achieve in the partner countries? Where are the risks and challenges? What are success factors? And how can the contribution of university collaboration be further increased in line with internationally agreed development targets?
To answer these questions and to continuously enhance the quality and effectiveness of its funding programmes, results-oriented planning, monitoring, and evaluation are an integral part of the DAAD’s programmes. Hereby, the DAAD also follows up on the basic principles of effective development cooperation agreed in the Aid Effectiveness Agenda.
The DAAD aims to
- further support the ownership of partners,
- foster the existing structures and capacities in the partnership ,
- facilitate dialogue between equal partners,
- plan and manage programmes according to results-oriented monitoring, and
- consistently measure the success of development policy measures by the results achieved.
Based on these objectives, the programmes, which are supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and other funding providers are regularly reviewed for their relevance, effectiveness, and impact by external assessors. Simultaneously, the DAAD reports on activities, results, and the extent to which objectives have been achieved in annual progress reports. As a non-governmental organisation, the DAAD essentially depends on the results-oriented project planning, management, and reporting of the universities as implementing agencies. Continuous dialogue is part of the DAAD’s learning experience. This way the DAAD can gear its work to the needs and demands of different partners and continue to develop funding programmes accordingly.
Evaluation: learning from experience
The analysis and assessment of progress by means of evaluation is firmly established in the work of the DAAD.. Evaluations serve the internal management and further development of funding programmes and accountability towards the public and funding providers. Furthermore, evaluation findings contribute to public and academic dialogue on the internationality of research and teaching.
Evaluations may refer to one single project or programme, but also strategic or regional issues across programmes. The assessment of development cooperation is based on five key criteria agreed by the international donor community in the Development Assistance Committee (DAC): relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, overarching developmental impact, and sustainability.
The external of 2013 underlines the relevance, effectiveness, and impact of the DAAD programmes in development cooperation. Success factors are the range of instruments, continued funding over a number of years, the expertise, experience, and the international network of the DAAD. In sum, due to the links between individual and institutional funding, the DAAD is in an excellent position to make an effective contribution to sustainable development.
Evaluations include impact assessment, thus offering important insights for the strategic development of DAAD programmes. For example, the positive results of the 2014 resulted in the programme being continued for a further five years. Since 2009, this programme has enabled the DAAD to support five German universities and their partners in developing countries to establish globally networked centres of excellence. The centres deal with global challenges in the areas of water, nutrition, resource management, decent work and health and support the development of teaching and research in the partner countries. In their function as think tanks, they also actively contribute to solving concrete developmental challenges in line with the global sustainability agenda. Due to the targeted recommendations that were included in the new funding phase a stronger structural impact may be expected in the partner countries.
In the area of individual funding, evaluations enable substantiated statements to be made on the medium and long term impact of scholarship programmes motivated by development policy. A large-scale in collaboration with the University of Oldenburg shows that scholarship holders from developing countries funded by the DAAD develop personally and professionally and initiate important change processes in their home countries. As so-called change agents and disseminators, they are actively involved in solving global challenges.
Results-oriented monitoring: observing progress and recognising trends at an early stage
Key for the ongoing tracking of results and effects of DAAD commitment to development cooperation is the tool Results-oriented Monitoring (RoM). The DAAD sees this as an ongoing process of collecting and evaluating data using indicators to compare actual changes with expected changes. As a programme or measure is implemented, conclusions can be drawn on the extent to which the intended results (outputs) and short and medium-term objectives (outcomes) of that programme or measure are likely to be achieved. As a result of continuous data collection, results-oriented monitoring also forms an important basis for carrying out evaluations. These make it easier to judge whether a programme has for example achieved its long-term objectives (impacts) or caused unintended effects.
An essential requirement for results-oriented monitoring is results-oriented planning, i.e. specifying intended effects and ways of reaching the targets when funding is awarded. For this reason, results-oriented monitoring for DAAD programmes in development cooperation comprises three core elements:
- a programme-specific interactive structure visualising the funding logic of the programme,
- indicators that make it possible to measure the achievement of objectives at the various impact levels, and
- collection tools by which data for checking the indicators is generated (e.g. the annual report from the universities, evaluation sheets, DAAD scholarship holder surveys).
The ongoing collection, aggregation, and evaluation of monitoring data is based on a web tool. This allows the DAAD and universities to gain a better understanding of results and impacts. Conclusions for the design and further development of programmes and projects can now be drawn much more easily. Thus, for example, improvements in university management, the take-up of new study programmes, or the learning progress of students can be consistently tracked and followed up on.
In line with the DAAD strategy 2020, results-oriented monitoring thus makes a significant contribution to
- facilitating results-oriented management and further improving the quality of programmes,
- promoting transparency to ensure open communication,
- initiating learning processes and creating a better basis for evaluation, and
- strengthening accountability towards funding bodies and the public.
Results-oriented planning, monitoring, and evaluation are key tools used by the DAAD to continue to develop its programmes in line with perceived needs so that an effective and sustainable contribution can be made to developing cosmopolitan higher education systems and to tackling global challenges.