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Ada Ocampo¹ and Marco Segone describe the ways electronic networks are being put to use in Latin America and the Caribbean to build evaluation capacity.

During the last decade evaluators in Latin America and the Caribbean faced an important challenge: how to develop a dynamic community of evaluators in a region that includes over 400 million people, has nearly 60 political entities, and spans huge geographical distances—and do it all without any additional funds.

The Programme for Strengthening the Monitoring and Evaluation Capacity of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, or PREVAL, exists to strengthen programs that combat hunger and rural poverty in developing countries through monitoring and evaluation.² From its inception in 1996, PREVAL has focused on using electronic networks to build evaluation capacity. The Internet enables PREVAL to link throughout a vast region evaluators and institutions concerned with evaluation practice. PREVAL members can share information with each other via the Web, provide evaluation training and support, and build vibrant virtual communities that transcend the limits of time and distance.

Latin America has demonstrated that the Internet is a powerful and low-cost tool for capacity building and for strengthening monitoring and evaluation. Since 1997 the Internet has contributed to a number of significant developments in Latin America:

  • A highly visible community of evaluators has been created that is recognized worldwide. For example, Latin America hosted the inaugural assembly of the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE) and presently has two seats on the IOCE Board.
  • Links between institutions have been forged or reinforced. With the support and participation of these institutions, international conferences and other important events that were not imaginable a few years ago are now taking place in the region.
  • Access to information has been significantly broadened at low cost. For example, relevant articles and publications in Spanish, Portuguese, and English have been widely disseminated through listservs and websites.
  • Greater recognition is being given to the evaluation profession and its contribution to poverty alleviation throughout the region.
  • Evaluation knowledge and experiences are being exchanged among evaluators through online conferences and discussion groups. In 1998, for instance, PREVAL hosted an electronic conference that involved over 300 participants from around the world. PREVAL also has hosted two month-long electronic workshops in addition to hosting an electronic library.
  • Various approaches and improvements to monitoring and evaluation are being continuously debated by several hundred participants in the discussion listservs of PREVAL ( and the Brazilian Evaluation Network (

Although these achievements are highly significant, the most important development to date has been the creation of the Network for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Systematization of Latin America and the Caribbean (ReLAC). The mission of ReLAC is “to strengthen the monitoring, evaluation, systematization culture and practice as a fundamental social and political process aiming to improve policies, programs, and projects considering better transparency and population participation.”³

Related Resources

The following three CD-ROMs are available from PREVAL and Fida International: Biblioteca electrónica sobre seguimiento y evaluación de proyectos (2nd ed.), published in 2002; Las imágenes que hablan: Evaluación por imágenes.El Caso MARENASS , published in 2003; and Sistema de seguimiento y evaluación del proyecto PROCHALATE: Una experiencia, also published in 2003. Each CD-ROM includes an array of features, among them videos, photographs, and documents formatted in PDF (portable document format). For further details visit

ReLAC, as well as the national networks that comprise this organization (representing Brazil, Central America, Colombia, and Peru, among others), strongly advocates using the Internet for effective networking among members and for promoting high quality evaluation practice and an evaluation culture. The Internet has permitted the Latin American national evaluation networks to undertake their activities and contribute to development efforts in the region without relying on external financial support. Without the availability of such low-cost tools, the creation of ReLAC and the continued building of evaluation capacity in Latin America and the Caribbean would not be possible.

¹ Ada Ocampo is the former coordinator of the Programme for Strengthening the Monitoring and Evaluation Capacity of the International Fund for Agricultural Development Projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
² Formerly known as the Programme for Strengthening the Regional Capacity for Evaluation of Rural Poverty Alleviation Projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
³ Excerpted from ReLAC's mission statement. Available at

Ada Ocampo
Evaluation Advisor
Evaluation Office
United Nations Development Programme
One UN Plaza, DC1 - 458
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212-906-5768

Marco Segone
Vice President, International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation
UNICEF Brazil SEPN 510, Bloco A
70750-521, Brasilia, DF
Tel: 011-556-130-351-906

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