Guide to evaluating capacity development results

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Publication Date: 
04 February 2013
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Despite donor commitments of more than $30 billion per year on capacity development activities, donors lack consensus regarding what these activities include and what results should be expected. Conventional monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems regularly fail to capture the impact of such activities. As a result, development practitioners are deprived of the opportunity to learn which capacity development interventions are most effective in different situations.

In its evaluation, Capacity Building in Africa, the World Bank Independent Evaluation Group critiqued the World Bank for not having “developed indicators to define capacity building outcomes” and, by extension, not having “developed a body of knowledge on what tools should be applied and how in different country and sector circumstances” (World Bank 2005:44). Other studies and reviews have reached similar conclusions, highlighting such overarching challenges as the absence of a conceptual framework and the poor articulation of a results chain related to capacity development (OECD 2005, 2006; World Bank 2006, 2008; Taylor and Clark 2008).

The World Bank Institute (WBI) developed the Capacity Development and Results Framework (CDRF) in response to these challenges, to provide a systematic approach and a set of tools for development practitioners to design a rigorous yet flexible capacity development strategy, or program logic, to monitor and adaptively manage their interventions and to evaluate their results (World Bank 2011). The CDRF focuses on capacity development as a process of empowering local agents to change constraining or enabling characteristics of institutional conditions, that is, facilitating improvements in institutional capacity dynamics to advance reforms and development goals.