Practical Action (PA), which was earlier known as the Intermediate
Technology Development Group (ITDG), has had a Technical Enquiry Service
(TES) since 1966. In 2006, having supported the TES for over 30 years,
DFID conducted an evaluation. The evaluation found it 'hard to imagine
many other development projects that could provide such good value for
money'. The evaluation, however, also concluded that there is much more
potential in the service that can be unlocked with better learning and
management. The evaluation recommended a strong learning component based
on an improved monitoring and data collection system.
The PAN project (August 2007 to December 2008) was PA's managerial
response to the evaluation and was designed as a learning-while-doing
effort to give direction to the future of the TES (now renamed as
Practical Answers). The project set out to undertake experiments with
different technologies and follow-up mechanisms. It was agreed that
resources would be diverted to learning about the functioning of
knowledge exchanges, while relieving the technical enquiry service of
the pressure to respond to high numbers of queries.
This document presents an evaluation of the Practical Answers (PAN)
project, conducted during the first 2 months of 2009. It involved short
visits to PAN projects in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Sudan and
contact with projects in Kenya, Nepal and Peru. The evaluation was seen
as a component of the learning process and, the objectives were to
review the process of learning and the learning that emerged, and
secondly to assess the outcomes and impact of the PAN project in the
period August 2007 to December 2008. Following the background and
introduction, details of the evaluation methodology are given. This is
followed by the achievements of Practical Answers and an assessment of
the performance of Practical Answers. Lessons learned and
recommendations for the way forward are then presented.
Roy, R.N. An Evaluation for Practical Action of the Practical Answers Project 2007-8. (2009) 31 pp.
An Evaluation for Practical Action of the Practical Answers Project 2007-8