Monitoring and evaluation

  • 10. Pursue realistic, incremental goals. Given the uncertain and often troubled state of political parties - even in established democracies - political party aid must be based on very modest, realistic, and incremental goals, rather than on ideal models. This will require in-depth studies of the local political environment. Local realities on the ground change rapidly in often highly complex political environments. Setting realistic goals and being flexible in implementing them will enable party aid providers to respond swiftly to realities on the ground and avoid losing the momentum for change.
  • 11. Keep strengthening evaluations, but don’t overemphasise numbers. Whether and how party assistance works have been insufficiently examined empirically. Party aid organisations should continue to deepen their evaluation efforts and support research and other learning exercises. At the same time, however, funding organisations should recognise that any efforts to reduce the success of political party development to strict quantitative indicators are likely to be unhelpful.
  • 12. Recognise the long-term challenge, but focus on tangible outcomes. Problematic features of political parties and party systems are not amenable to quick fixes and party aid is most effective when pursued on a long-term basis. Nevertheless, party aid programmes should define tangible medium-term outcomes to define the path of such longer-term engagement.


Carothers, T. (2006), Confronting the Weakest Link: Aiding Political Parties in New Democracies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, New York.

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