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Strategic Evaluation


Knowledge and expertise
The staff of John Fargher + Associates demonstrate the knowledge and expertise required to meet the strategic evaluation needs of the private sector and donor clients. 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 strategic evaluation. John is a member of the American Evaluation Association and the Australasian Evaluation Society, and is committed to adhering to the ethical standards established by those 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 strategic evaluations – from scoping (e.g. Review of methodologies for multilateral agency performance assessment, 2010), design (e.g. Team Leader Technical Advisory Group for Australian Institute of Sport Pacific Sports Outreach Program Evaluation 2012; peer review of impact evaluation design for Vanuatu Transport Sector Support Program 2013), conduct (e.g. AusAID Latin America Program Evaluation, 2013; AusAID Caribbean Program Evaluation, 2012; ODE Strategic Review of Rural Development, 2011; and Global Environment Facility Operational Performance Study 2001) and analysis, reporting and communication (e.g. Strategic 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 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). Under the MEEP John provides help-desk mentoring and coaching to senior AusAID staff (including one FADG), country teams (e.g. currently Caribbean, Indonesia, Vanuatu and Vietnam); specific design teams (e.g. Indonesian Higher Education and Indonesia Climate Change) and specific initiatives (e.g. Australia Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction).

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 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 monitoring 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 statistics. 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
John has 32 years of experience as a development practitioner – starting work in Iraq in 1980. In the past 20 years he has led or contributed to strategic evaluations including cross-country thematic evaluations (e.g. Second Overall Performance Study of the Global Environment Facility 2000-2002); evaluations of policies (e.g. review of Australian policy relating to membership of the International Fund for Agricultural Development 2011); sector strategies (e.g. development of program theory for rural development sector performance assessment in Indonesia, 2011; ODE Strategic Review of Rural Development, 2011; and cluster evaluation of AusAID education support to Special Autonomy Provinces in Indonesia 2011-2012); and country programs (e.g. AusAID Latin America Program Evaluation, 2013; AusAID Caribbean Program Evaluation, 2012; thematic evaluation of research in AusAID PNG country program 2010). In all these experiences, John has contributed to developing and using rigorous methodology. As a member of the 8-member Facilitation Panel under the AusAID M&E Expert Panel (MEEP, 2009-2012) John contributed to annual meetings and strategic thinking about the role of evaluation at an agency level in AusAID and contributed to advice on agency evaluation policies and guidelines.

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 – a technique he used successfully in 11 countries as a member of the multi-country Overall Performance Study of the Global Environment Facility (2000/2002). He has worked with statistical agencies in several countries and contributed to the design of household living standard surveys and the design of statistical components of systems to evaluate performance of national poverty reduction and growth strategies. 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 statistics. 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.

John has conducted meta-evaluation to synthesise evidence from other evaluations, case studies and research. For example, in the Second Overall Performance Study of the Global Environment Facility (2000/2002) John conducted meta-analysis of more than 41 project evaluations, as well as in-country detailed evaluations in 6 countries (Kenya, Romania, Samoa, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda) – see http://www.thegef.org/gef/sites/thegef.org/files/documents/OPS2.pdf%20ENGLISH.pdf . More recently, as team leader of the Office of Development Effectiveness Review of Rural Development John conducted meta-analysis of evaluations for more than 10 AusAID and ACIAR programs. Similarly, as Team Leader of the Vietnam Australia M&E Strengthening Project (2004-2008) John worked with Japanese evaluators to design and conduct meta-analysis of 17 Japanese ODA projects consisting of 13 Yen loan projects, 2 grant aid projects and 2 technical cooperation projects for the Vietnam-Japan Joint Program Evaluation Study on the Transport Infrastructure Development in the Red River Delta Area of Vietnam.

John has more than 20 years of experience preparing evaluation reports that meet the professional standards of the American Evaluation Society and the Australasian Evaluation Society. Many of these reports are published (e.g. GEF OPS – see URL above and AusAID evaluation reports). 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. His strategic evaluation experience includes writing briefing documents for Cabinet (e.g. SA Water Resources Council); policy documents for senior decision makers (e.g. AusAID, GTZ, IFAD, MDBC, UNCCD); evaluation reports and output-to-purpose reviews for specific projects (e.g. AIFDR, RUDEP); and training manuals and guidelines (e.g. AusAID WASH and VAMESP II). John 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 has facilitated development of program theory at country program (e.g. Caribbean program); sector (e.g. Tonga Economic and Public Sector Governance, 2013; Water and Sanitation under WASH Budget Measure, 2010; or rural development in eastern Indonesia, 2010); initiative (e.g. Timor-Leste Seeds of Life III, Indonesia Tertiary Education Design, Vietnam Australia M&E Strengthening Program); and activity (e.g. Evaluation of Australia UNICEF Education Support in Papua and Papua Barat) levels. He has provided technical program theory support for evaluations and performance management as a member of a Technical Advisory Group (e.g. for the Evaluation and Research activities under the Australian Sports Outreach Program in the Pacific and Timor-Leste Seeds of Life III); and as the leader of an evaluation (e.g. strategic evaluation of Education Support to Special Autonomy Regions in Indonesia). John has also provided program theory capacity development for AusAID staff in the Caribbean (2012 QAI support), PNG (2010 PNG Sub-National Strategy), Vanuatu (AusAID 2012 Evaluation Capacity Building Program) and Vietnam (2012 QAI support and 2011 inputs to Climate Change Strategic Analysis and Delivery Strategy).

John’s strategic evaluation expertise is used to provide expert advice on evaluation designs and methodology as well as assess the technical quality of evaluation plans and reports. For example, John led the Technical Advisory Group that assessed the evaluation plan and methodology for the A$1.6m evaluation and research activities for the Australian Sports Outreach Program in the Pacific (Australian Sports Commission, 2012). Similarly John has been selected to implement the Vanuatu activities under the AusAID Evaluation Capacity Building Program (developed for AusAID by Dr Sue Dawson) as part of the organisational change to integrate program theory into decision-making being undertaken by AusAID in response to the Aid Review. This role includes assessing the technical quality of evaluation plans and reports with the AusAID team in Port Vila.

John has post-graduate management qualifications that provide him with advanced skills in evidence-based management theory and practice. He is familiar with AusAID’s Performance Management and Evaluation Policy and changes in response to the Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness (April 2011) that govern the collection and use of evidence for management in AusAID and its whole-of-government partners. His knowledge and skills in practical management of teams, projects and organisations are informed by his capabilities in behavioural and organisational change.

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