External evaluation of the Institute for Development (ID)
Background The ID was born in 1998. An external feasibility and marketing study was carried out which gave rise to an intervention strategy. This is how the Diaconal Institute of Norwegian Mission Alliance was born, called the IDMAN (Instituto Diaconal de Misión Alianza de Noruega), which had the following objective: "trained institutions and social stakeholders apply the acquired knowledge and skills in sustainable development processes in their municipalities from a diaconal perspective". In 2002, the IDMAN was acknowledged by the Bolivian Ministry of Education through Administrative Resolution 09/02 dated 17 July, as an entity that provides Alternative Education. In 2003, a first external evaluation is made. One of the recommendations of this evaluation is that the IDMAN must define what type of institution it wants to, should or can be in accordance with the socio-political context of Bolivia: whether it wants to be associated with the social work of MAN-B or whether it considers itself to be a training entity in diaconia, or maybe an Institute that trains assistant technicians in development with a diaconal vocation. As from 2004 and putting into practice the recommendations of the external evaluation carried out in 2003, as well as the recommendations of internal evaluations, the institute defined its identity as the Institute for Development or ID, which centres on training Assistant Technicians in Sustainable Development, in rural and urban municipalities. It also defines its vision, mission, values and development objective. This is the identity the Institute still has today. Purpose/objective Verify achievement of the following results: a) Read the Municipal Strengthening Project to confirm whether the rethought identity of the Diaconal Institute was based on the results of the External Evaluation in 2003 and on the Internal Evaluation (Educational and Consultative Councils) contained in the project application for 2003 - 2007.b) Give advice to BN, Norwegian Mission Alliance in Bolivia, on the future operation of the Institute for Development, based on the recommendations of the evaluation. Methodology For performing this task, the evaluation team had access to all requested information. Authorities of the institution, its teaching personnel and students displayed an open and pleasant attitude of collaboration, which greatly facilitated the work. Interviews were conducted with municipal authorities, authorities of MAN-B, coordinators of the different work areas of MAN-B, authorities of institutions with which the ID coordinates its activities and the municipalities in which the ID has worked and is working were visited. On all these moments, we underscored the importance of understanding the nature of the evaluation process and the intention of making useful contributions to ensure success of the evaluation Key findings The ID enjoys prestige because of having implemented its programme for training Assistant Technicians in Development, which is carried out in various municipalities of La Paz and in the intervention areas of MAN-B. The training experience for municipal management and development acquired by the ID in this period of major changes in Bolivia is very positive as it creates a space and opportunity for civil society in the municipalities and the work areas of MAN-B to become more visible and active in some local processes and initiatives, even though only in an incipient manner. The trained Assistant Technicians in Development enormously appreciate the ID as the training is provided in their own communities, using a participatory methodology and using Aymara. This is an important aspect that distinguishes the ID as an alternative education institution, with recognition by the Bolivian Ministry of Education.The activities of the ID do not have any specific beneficiaries or objectives, but rather respond to different needs or demands of the municipalities and work areas of MAN-B, which are the basis for the ID's work and operation.The weak operational coordination and communication among the projects of MAN-B has caused isolated actions of each area. Recommendations Strengthen the ID from a professional and technical perspective, particularly focusing strategic planning, by offering services according to the demand so that in the long run sustainability and success in human resources training would be equivalent.The ID must define and orient its training in municipal management with well-focused and crosscutting axes to avoid a dispersion of topics and respond to demands.Reflection in MAN-B on the risks of decentralisation of its projects, including the ID as a trainer in Organisational Strengthening.