CONCEPT AND MEANING OF EVALUATION:
Evaluation of programmes is critical for measuring various community health services The ultimate reasons for doing evaluation is to ensure a better quality of useful outcome from efforts and resources put into developing activities and programmes. Evaluation is a positive management process relating to efficiency. effectiveness, accountability and a constant striving towards a better quality of development work.
Evaluation is the process of collecting data, presenting them in a convenient form and using them to form judgements to reach decisions about an activity. A public Health. service is a process which starts with planning and ends with evaluation of the programme. Evaluation in itself is not an end; each process of the managemsnt and administrative cycle has an evaluation component which helps us to modify or change that various points of cycle so that we could achieve the pre-determined goal of the programme. 'We can define "evaluation as a process of Identifying and reflecting upon the tpffect of what has been done, and judging the value of it".
Thus we can say that Evaluation is a process of judging the value of what a prognnmefproject has achieved particularly in relation to activities planned and overall objectives achieved. Evaluation differs from monitoring, but they are closely related. Evaluation involves value judgement and hence it is different from monitoring which is observation and reporting of observations on day-to-day basis for discovering problems and opportunities without any delay so that appropriate management decisions can be made to keep the activity moving steadily towards its goals.
Management should prepare for evaluation as a part of initial process of planning, because planning is concerned with identifying problems and opportunities, exploring possibilities choosing priorities, and then setting targets, purpose, objectives and goals. Plans list out the human and material resources needed for the task, the intended output (outcome and the time table and methods for completing the programme. They seek to summarize Who will Do What, When, How, Where. So details of monitoring and evaluation process needs to be written and inbuilt in planning any programmefproject right from the beginning.
It will alert the planners to the time and other resources that proper monitoring and evaluation process will require. Management need to understand that the design, development and maintenance of evawation programs require commitment and long term vision. It requires additional cost and personnel. Evaluation programs determine whether management actions are moving towards development and desired future.