Using knowledge to better design and evaluate policies: the General Directorate of Social Policy Analysis and Evaluation in Honduras

[Editor’s note: This post is part of a series intended to share results, reflections and what facilitators and participants learned through the development and conduction of the online course “Leaders of change: developing Latin American policymakers´capacity to promote the use of knowledge in policy”.]logo

Several and different efforts are being conducted around the globe to promote the use of research in policy. P&I is permanently thinking about ways to contribute to a more fruitful interaction between knowledge and ideas emanating from it and policy. Yet, are we learning enough from those who are hardly working for this on the ground?

At P&I we believe there is large and promising room to further systematize what policymakers are achieving (and challenges they are dealing with) on the field. In that sense we decided to co-produce two case studies with this profile of policymakers to share how they dealt with the use of knowledge and evidence within two different policy processes. The first one was shared some weeks ago:  The creation of a monitoring system for the Abre Plan in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina (only available in Spanish).

Today we share the second one, co-written by Héctor Díaz Romero and myself: The design of the General Directorate of Social Policy Analysis and Evaluation of the Honduran Secretariat of Social Development. It focuses on a very interesting experience developed by the Honduran Secretariat of Social Development, which decided to consolidate its operation through the creation of an internal technical agency specialized in social policy design and the monitoring and assessment of progress made in the sector.

This new Directorate faced a double challenge. On the one hand, it was necessary to have a better policy formulation and implementation process, resorting to technical bases and technical expertise that allowed social policy-related institution plan based on said policies. On the other hand, it was imperative to have quality, reliable information available that allowed them to know the social sector status after years of lack of public action articulation, so as to justify the design of new policies, as well as monitor and assess results. The case goes through the information that was gathered to set up the new agency (from comparative evidence in the region, to the advice of experts and internal information spread out in other State agencies), the stakeholders who were involved in the process, the main challenges faced when trying to proomte the use of new information and the lessonslearned.

By documenting this experience, we aim to share ideas, lessons and challenges with those who are interested in learning from the very concrete and on the ground efforts of those who daily try to contribute to a more fruitful dialogue between knowledge and policy.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. hansgutbrod says:

    Thank you for sharing. If understood correctly (my Spanish is limited to knowing Portuguese), one particular challenge you highlight is that for small countries it can be much more difficult to set up systematic evaluations, as the number of beneficiaries are comparatively small and setting up a proper evaluation would be a much higher percentage of program costs than in, say, Brazil. I would be extremely interested in hearing more about “approximations” i.e. how you try to get a sense of what’s going on with limited funding. I think that’s a field in which information exchange will prove very useful.

    Thanks again!

  2. Leandro Echt says:

    Hi Hans,
    Thanks for your interest in the case. Yes, we meant what you understood. On another field, when I used work at a think tank, the percentage of the project’s budget destined to evaluate them was also very small, so bigger projects would have more possibilities to include evaluation components. I think it is pretty linked to prioritizing when your budget is tight.
    If we come up with new information on the issue we will share it.

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