United Nations Volunteers

United Nations Volunteers


The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the United Nations (UN) organization contributing to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. UNV is an affiliated programme to the UN Development Programme (UNDP). In 2011, UNV had 158 staff and a budget of USD 236 million. UNV headquarters is in Bonn, Germany. 











Evaluation Function Snapshot Independence Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning Quality Assurance Use of Evaluation Joint Evaluation

Evaluation Function


The UNV Evaluation Unit operates under the UNDP Evaluation Policy adopted in 2011, and related guidelines (Programme and Operations Policies and Procedures, POPP). In 2011, the Evaluation Unit had three staff members and reported a centralized evaluation budget of USD 273,853. Expenditure for decentralized evaluation amounted to USD 85,000. The Evaluation Unit conducts strategic and thematic evaluations, and provides advice and oversight over programme and project evaluations. The Evaluation Unit is primarily responsible for overseeing the process and the quality of decentralized evaluations; planning and managing corporate-level evaluations; monitoring and following-up on evaluation recommendations (management responses); disseminating evaluation knowledge; conducting evaluation capacity development. Other tasks include: results-based management (RBM); Monitoring & Evaluation training (designing, facilitating or conducting courses); contributing to corporate reporting processes; and building strategic alliances with the evaluation community. 







Promoting a culture of evaluation in-house

To promote the evaluation culture in-house the Evaluation Unit advises colleagues on the use of proper indicators, monitoring systems and results frameworks when designing projects to ensure that program/portfolio managers are aware of the importance of evaluation and of managing for results.








  • Evaluation policy:
  • Human Resources in 2011:
    • Chief ( M)
    • Evaluators: Total 1 (M)
    • Support staff: Total 1 (part-time) (F)
  • Evaluations produced per year by the central unit and by decentralized units (where applicable):
    • Ten evaluations in 2011 all of which were conducted by external consultants. One was a corporate-level strategic evaluation conducted jointly with another UN agency (DFS) and nine were decentralized project or country-level evaluations. 








The Chief of Evaluation reports directly to the UNV Executive Coordinator and has the authority to sign off on evaluation reports. S/he also manages the evaluation budget for corporate-level evaluation activities, known as the Facility for evaluation (FACE). Budget for decentralized evaluations is provided directly by programmes or projects.

Evaluators sign a statement of potential conflict of interest however there are no rules and mechanisms, which allow evaluators to report discreetly on cases of wrongdoing.






Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning


Agenda setting and evaluation planning

The UNV Evaluation Unit prepares a multiyear evaluation work plan (3-4 year horizon) following an agency-wide consultation. The multiyear work plan, which is published on the UNDP Evaluation Resource Centre (ERC), addresses timing of evaluations with a view to contribute to accountability of results; learning and ongoing programme improvement; to inform decision-making, priority areas most in need of evaluation, and to specify necessary resources for evaluations. The work plan is reviewed and approved by the UNV Senior Management Team (SMT).

The UNDP Evaluation Policy outlines mandatory evaluations for UNV as follows:

a)  One strategic or thematic assessment per year in response to demands identified during a corporate consultative process;

b)  Mid-term or final evaluations of selected projects and initiatives financed from the Special Voluntary Fund, in critical areas and/or areas where there is a need to learn about the contribution of volunteerism to peace and development; 

c)  Project evaluations when required by a partnership protocol; 

d)  Participation in evaluations of joint programmes when required by the programme design.

Evaluation at UNV is reported biennially to the Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA and UNV’s own results are reported annually in the UNDP Annual Report on Evaluation (ARE).



Stakeholder involvement and promoting national evaluation capacity development

Stakeholders are consulted throughout the evaluation process, from planning/design to follow-up phases. The Evaluation Unit is affiliated to professional evaluation associations and networks such as the European Evaluation Society and the Network of Networks on Impact Evaluation (NONIE, through UNEG).



Quality Assurance


The quality of evaluations is systematically controlled through a set of quality rules covering evidence-based evaluation reports, findings, conclusions and recommendations, conciseness of the executive summary; consistency with UNDP and international norms and standards; methodology and limitations; terms of reference (TOR); evidence of results; and quality of recommendations.






Use of Evaluation


The UNDP Evaluation Policy requires a management response to all evaluations. Accordingly, the UNV Executive Coordinator and SMT issue an explicit response to each evaluation through a Management Response Matrix, and a section in a new project/programme design document, where applicable. The Evaluation Unit systematically monitors the implementation of the evaluation recommendations and this is reported to the UNV Executive Coordinator.

All UNV evaluation reports are made public through the UNDP ERC. To facilitate wider use and dissemination of evaluation findings, major corporate-level evaluations are translated into the three working languages of UNDP (English, French and Spanish) and summaries of evaluation findings are periodically published in the form of â€ÂÂÂÂœEvaluation Briefs”. 






Joint Evaluation


UNV may plan and conduct joint evaluations with stakeholders including UNDP or other UN agencies when possible. Also, UNV participates in UN-wide evaluations initiated by the Secretary General or UNEG, including peer review processes.






UNEG Members

Sandra Koch

Programme Analyst, UNV

Fact Sheet