The FC evaluation unit has launched the Interactive Database for Evaluation and Learning (IDEaL), making the collected evaluation results of KfW Development Bank available to the general public in a single application. The combined project information, lessons learned and target systems used make it possible to precisely search for best practices and failures from completed projects. The application includes information on all reports from the last two decades, offering insight into a representative cross-section of the FC portfolio from all regions and sectors.
For many institutions, systematic institutional learning is an essential goal on a number of levels. Two core elements are needed to ensure decision-making processes are based on evidence: First, evidence should be generated as systematically as possible and recorded in a structured manner. Second, evidence should be prepared in a form that is effective and expedient for institutional learning (evidence to practice).
The work produced by the independent FC evaluation unit has been fulfilling the first requirement for more than 20 years. Once completed, Financial Cooperation projects are systematically analysed in ex post evaluations based on OECD-DAC criteria. Since the introduction of an annual, representative random draw of completed projects in 2007, more than 1,100 evaluation results have been compiled in a structured manner.
In order to render this wealth of evaluation knowledge usable for all stakeholders, we asked ourselves how we can meet the second requirement – evidence to practice – and what attributes a modern knowledge base should have. The answer? Its contents should be focused and user-friendly, i.e. easily accessible and intuitive to understand, digital and interactive, and searchable with flexible filters.
As a result, we created IDEaL as an interactive app with more than 1,100 evaluation results. Knowledge that was previously only accessible by laboriously searching through the PDF versions of reports has now been digitalised. This enables users to find exactly the evaluations they need, for instance, to plan new projects in just a few clicks. Using the free text search function, users can enter keywords and then filter reports by region, sector and type of executing agency. For example, when designing a new energy project in Uganda, users can read up on experiences from similar projects in the country, region or even other places around the world. Moreover, the key lessons learned from every evaluation have been processed separately and can be accessed directly. In addition to a brief description, a summary or the entire report is available at the click of a button.
IDEaL therefore offers targeted, uncomplicated and individualised answers to questions such as: What are the possible factors for the success or failure of certain interventions? Do projects fare better depending on whether the project-executing agency is a state agency, multilateral organisation or NGO? Which indicators were used? Which targets were formulated for the implemented projects? The app will be continuously updated with new results, ensuring direct and fast access by the general public.