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Activity Evaluation


Knowledge and expertise
The staff of John Fargher + Associates demonstrate the knowledge and expertise required to meet the activity evaluation needs of private sector clients and donors. John Fargher’s post-graduate management qualifications provide him with advanced skills and knowledge in the methodologically rigorous collection of evidence and use of program theory as part of activity evaluation. John is a member of the American Evaluation Association and the Australasian Evaluation Society. He is committed to adhering to the ethical standards established by those international professional bodies for the conduct of evaluations.

John has graduate and post-graduate qualifications in science (BAgSc 1980) and resource economics (MNatRes 1996) that required presentation of theses prepared with rigorous methodology, systematic collection and statistical analysis of quantitative and qualitative data and advanced strategic analysis. This foundation in rigorous data collection, analysis and interpretation supported John’s work in evaluation. This knowledge and expertise in evaluation was further enhanced by participation in a World Bank Institute – Evaluation Practice Master Class (Hanoi, 2004) and Japan International Cooperation Agency Evaluation Master class (Tokyo, 2006). Through these networks John became an active member of the ADB Management for Development Results Community of Practice.

John has applied this knowledge and expertise through leading and participating in all phases of activity evaluations – from scoping (e.g. Team Leader for formative evaluation of Australia-UNICEF Support to Education in Papua, Indonesia -2012), design (e.g. Team Leader Technical Advisory Group for Australian Institute of Sport Pacific Sports Outreach Program Evaluation 2012), conduct (e.g. Team Leader for terminal evaluation of Contribution to Agriculture and Rural Development in Vietnam - 2010) and analysis, reporting and communication (e.g. Team Leader for program evaluations of Caribbean, 2012; and Latin America, 2013 portfolios for Australian Aid, and terminal evaluation of research in PNG aid program, 2010). In addition, John has gained knowledge and expertise specific to AusAID as a member of the 8-person Facilitation Panel under the M&E Expert Panel (MEEP 2009-2012). John is now one of 3 country facilitators for the AusAID Evaluation Capacity Building Program (Vanuatu, 2012-ongoing).

John has a demonstrated ability to work across cultures, build relationships with stakeholders and communicate findings and strategic advice effectively. John has worked since 1980 in cross-cultural environments – in more than 30 countries. His recent experience includes ASEAN, the Caribbean, China, the Middle East and Melanesia. John implemented two formal joint-evaluations to OECD-DAC guidelines: Vietnam Australia Primary Health Care Evaluation – 2007 and Japan Joint Program Evaluation Study on the Transport Infrastructure Development in the Red River Delta Area – 2007. Both were presented as case studies to the OECD-DAC Evaluation Network. He was coach/mentor to senior AusAID staff in 2011 and provides help desk support to design teams in Indonesia (2011-12) and performance management teams in Vanuatu (2012-0ngoing). The Independent Completion Report for VAMESP II identified John’s ability to gain the trust of national ministry counterparts as one of the key factors in the project’s effectiveness. He works with communities and counterparts using participatory techniques, which support the rigorous methodology that is the foundation for all evaluations. This knowledge and experience has been applied in practice on design, evaluation, supervision and implementation missions in more than 30 countries over the past 25 years.

In addition to his technical knowledge and skills, John has strong interpersonal and facilitation expertise that is informed by post-graduate training in human behaviour, organisational change and strategy execution. Those skills are one reason why he was selected as a member of the 8-person Facilitation Panel under the AusAID M&E Expert Panel (MEEP: 2009-2012).

John has formal training in statistics and biometry, and has applied these skills in the collection and analysis of data in developing countries since 1980. He has championed the use of goal attainment scaling to enable statistical analysis of qualitative data such as stakeholder perceptions. He has worked with statistical agencies in several countries (e.g. Vietnam, PNG) and contributed to the design of household living standard surveys and the design of statistical components of systems to monitor performance of national poverty reduction and growth strategies. John has worked with donor groups to design, implement and analyse cost effective evaluation for joint portfolio performance reviews. Since 2009 he has worked extensively in Indonesia (5 evaluations, 2 designs, 2 peer reviews), PNG (5 evaluations, 1 design, 2 peer reviews) and Cambodia and Vietnam to support local teams to collect, analyse and use field data and statistical evidence. Before then, John supported counterparts in China, Indonesia, PNG and Vietnam, to use statistics to inform aid effectiveness policy and management for development results at activity, program and national scales. John uses his economics skills to assess the cost-effectiveness of alternatives to ensure benefits of information exceed the costs of collection and analysis.


Demonstrated experience
Between 2009 and 2012, under the AusAID M&E Expert Panel (MEEP) John led implementation of 11 activity evaluations in PNG [5], Indonesia [5] and Vietnam [1] across a range of sectors (education [2], disaster risk reduction [1], agriculture and rural development [5], health [1], governance [2]) to AusAID standards for independent progress and completion reviews. Before this he led 15 formative evaluations – implemented under the Vietnam Australia M&E Strengthening Project (VAMESP 2004-2008) – across transport, health, education and agriculture sectors. Before MEEP, John contributed to 31 evaluations for World Bank, DFID, Commonwealth of Australia (other than AusAID), partner governments and private corporations – ranging from large-scale program evaluations (e.g. Evaluation of Natural Heritage Trust – 1998) to ex ante project evaluations (e.g. Appraisal of Lake Aibi Protection – 2010). He evaluates against all 5 OECD-DAC criteria, the additional 3 AusAID criteria and uses methods ranging from benefit-cost analysis, contribution analysis, spatial analysis, and semi-structured interviews to participatory rural appraisal (PRA) methods.

John is experienced in the systematic collection and analysis of data. He applies formal training in statistics and economics to collection and analysis of data [link to work sample]. John champions the use of goal attainment scaling to enable statistical analysis of qualitative data such as stakeholder perceptions – he used the technique in World Bank and Global Environment Facility evaluations. He worked with statistical agencies in several countries (e.g. Vietnam, PNG) and contributed to the design of household living standard surveys to collect evaluation evidence to support program improvement. John supported counterparts in China (e.g. World Bank/DFID China Water Program formative evaluation – 2008), Indonesia (e.g. terminal evaluations of Smallholder Agriculture Development Initiative and Australia Nusa Tenggara Assistance for Regional Autonomy – 2010), PNG (e.g. mid-term evaluations of Institute of Medical Research and National Research Institute-2010) and Vietnam (e.g. Japan Joint Program Evaluation Study on the Transport Infrastructure Development in the Red River Delta Area – 2007), to use statistics in evaluations. John uses his economics skills to assess the cost-effectiveness of alternatives to ensure benefits of information exceed the costs of collection and analysis.

John is experienced in the production of publishable reports that meet stakeholder needs. He prepares evaluation reports to meet the professional standards of the American Evaluation Society and the Australasian Evaluation Society. Many of these reports are published. John has prepared written reports for Commonwealth agencies such as AusAID; Australian Sports Commission, donor agencies such as World Bank, DFID, USAID and GTZ; as well as NGOs and the private sector. He has a reputation for succinct and clear expression, and logical presentation of data, that is informed by more than 28 years of cross-cultural communication and familiarity with the style and formatting expectations of different donors and partner country clients. His written presentation is informed by the Commonwealth Style Manual (2002) and the Economist Style Guide (2006). He uses MS Word, MS Visio, MS Excel and MS PowerPoint.

John demonstrates experience leading multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural teams. He led all but one of the 11 evaluations he has conducted for AusAID since 2009. In all these evaluations the majority of team members (100% in the case of 6 evaluations) were national professionals. John is able to work across cultures, communicate complex concepts simply and to coach/mentor team members to implement effective evaluations. He has formal management qualifications (Oxford University Advanced Management Program 1998) and his facilitation skills were recognised by his appointment to the 8-member Facilitation Panel under AusAID MEEP (2009-2012). John has worked since 1980 in cross-cultural environments – in more than 30 countries. His recent experience includes ASEAN, the Caribbean, China, the Middle East and Melanesia. He was coach/mentor to senior AusAID staff in 2011 and provides monitoring and evaluation help desk support to teams in Indonesia (2011-12) and Vanuatu (2012-0ngoing).

John demonstrates understanding of the operational context of international development, and experience with a range of aid modalities and delivery partners. He is familiar with recent developments at Busan as well as practical application of the Accra Agenda for Action and the Paris Declaration and their implications for performance management. John contributed to the early drafting and review of the Paris Declaration (sections on Managing for Results and Mutual Accountability). He was actively involved with OECD-DAC and Government of Vietnam in the drafting of the Hanoi Core Statement – the first national response to the Paris Declaration. John contributed to development and implementation of World Bank/OECD-DAC tools to monitor implementation of Paris Declaration commitments. For 4 years John led VAMESP (2004-2008), resulting in harmonisation of donor and Government systems for ODA performance management in Vietnam. John has experience with a range of modalities: projects (e.g. Indonesia Support to Education Development in Aceh – 2011)); facilities (e.g. PNG Agricultural Research and Development Support Facility – 2010); SWAps (e.g. Vietnam Education SWAp - 2006); multi-donor trust funds (e.g. Vietnam Public Sector Finance MDTF – 2007) and programs (e.g. Australian Aid Latin America Program, 2013; Australian Aid Caribbean Program, 2012; Global Environment Facility – 2002). His developing country experience is gained through a variety of donors (ADB, AusAID, DFID, GIZ, USAID, World Bank).

John has experience in one or more of the regions in which the Australian aid program operates including Africa, Middle East, Asia, South East Asia, the Pacific and Caribbean. He has worked in ASEAN (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam); Africa (Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda); the Caribbean and South America (Barbados, Belize, Chile, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, St Lucia, Trinidad); China; Europe (France, Greece, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, United Kingdom) the Pacific (PNG, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands); and the Middle East (Armenia, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Yemen). John’s developing country experience has ranged from village and household level (e.g. designing and implementing surveys in China, Tanzania or Vietnam) through national level (e.g. evaluation capacity development for Government of Vietnam) to regional and program levels (e.g. Caribbean performance framework). He has worked in conflict-affected areas (e.g. Aceh, Papua, Mauritania, Iraq); fragile states (e.g. Timor-Leste, PNG) and the poorest areas of middle-income countries (e.g. Nusa Tenggara Timur, Papua Barat and Tay Nguyen).

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