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Wednesday, January 09, 2019

How GIZ uses Results-Based Management in Monitoring and Evaluation

Greg Armstrong

With $16 billion in 1,700 ongoing technical cooperation projects, and more than 19,000 staff working in 130 countries, GIZ is one of the world’s biggest technical cooperation implementing agencies. This article reviews the GIZ role in German international development assistance and, GIZ policies on Results-Based Management, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Map showing in which countries GIZ is active

Who This is For:  Project Managers, Bid Managers
Level of Difficulty:  Moderate to complex
Most useful:  Guidelines on designing and using a results-based monitoring system (RBM system)

The size and scope of German International Assistance

According to Donor Tracker in 2017 Germany was the second largest donor for international development assistance in gross amounts disbursed.

Even given the fact that the $ 24.7 billion budget for international assistance included roughly $6 billion for refugee related expenditures, this still makes Germany in gross terms the biggest donor in Europe, and the second biggest in the world.  It ranked 6th in Europe in terms of % of GNI contributed.

Germany is also the largest contributor to the European Development Fund, the largest component of EU-administered development assistance.  

 The two largest components of this development assistance are managed by  KfW Development Bank and its subsidiary DEG, the German Investment Corporation and BMZ – the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Role and Function of BMZ 

While much of this German ODA was managed by KfW Development Bank, and other government Ministries,  BMZ - The Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, administered  the largest portion of the budget -roughly 37% of the ODA budget in 2017, and that was predicted to rise to 49% ( $10.7 billion) in 2018.

2018 Budget Allocations - BMZ
Click to enlarge
The largest component of the BMZ aid budget in 2018 was allocated to bilateral development cooperation.

Of the 8.5 billion Euro ($US 9.5 billion administered by BMZ, in 2017 several billion was provided for
financial cooperation, some through the European Union’s aid mechanisms, some to the World
Bank, and the regional development banks, to foundations and civil society organizations.  Some was
also provided to a wide range of United Nations agencies. 

Germany is, for example, the largest government contributor to the UNDP.

And Germany supported close to 2,000 UNDP projects through UNDP regular resources and another 113 UNDP projects directly in 2017.  
Map showing the location of 2,087 UNDP projects supported by Germany in 2017
UNDP projects supported by Germany in 2017
(Click to enlarge)

GIZ, as an implementing agency itself received roughly 2.6 billion Euros  (close to $3 billion) in 2017, roughly 2.5 billion coming from BMZ and other German ministries, the rest from organizations such as the European Union, U.N. agencies, foundations or private sector companies, for the implementation of technical cooperation activities and between 2015-2017 was the largest recipient of Europeaid contracts, and although no longer the single largest recipient in  January 2019 remained  in the top 3.
Chart showing the top 10 EuropeAid contractors between 2015-2017
List of top EuropeAid contractors 2015-2017
Over the past 5 years  GIZ has been awarded 218 EuropeAid contracts worth roughly $450 million.

5-Year total of GIZ contracts with EuropeAid - as of January 2019

The Role of GIZ as an Implementing Agency

There was a time when the aid agencies of the world – USAID, CIDA, DFID, AusAid and others actually implemented their own aid programmes, but for the past 30 years, turning policy into practice has been farmed out to private or public organizations, U.N. agencies, consulting companies or foundations specifically, contracted to manage projects.  

GIZ is sometimes mistakenly thought of as a donor agency, but while it has input to German aid policy it is basically the chosen instrument of the government of Germany to implement technical cooperation.  GIZ was formed in 2011, with the merger of the public development agencies GTZ, DED  and InWEnt, a capacity building agency.  The German Development Minister at the time, Dirk Niebel said GIZ would be “...a lean, economically efficient, transparent implementing agency”   The BMZ website puts GIZ’s role this way:
The Deutsche Gesellchaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is responsible for technical cooperation with Germany’s partner countries, for preparing and sending out development workers, and for human resources development and further training. 
GIZ is not a charity organisation. All GIZ projects are based on a specific commission – from the German Government, from our main commissioning party the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), from other federal ministries or from other national and international clients

Size and Scope of GIZ activities

A good case could be made that GIZ is in terms of its internationally based staff, the largest technical cooperation agency in the world, and the second largest in terms of the number and value of the projects it is managing.  

GIZ itself had an income of 2.6  billion  Euros, or close to $3 billion  for technical assistance projects in 2017, as noted above.
But this pales in comparison to the total value of GIZ currently active projects in 2019 – 14.4 billion Euros or approximately $16 .5 billion in over 1,700 projects in 130 countries.

Location and Value of Ongoing GIZ projects, world-wide, January 2019
(Click to enlarge)
95% of the value of projects it manages come from the German government – either from BMZ or 
other agencies.

UNDP in 2017 had a bigger annual budget - $4.6 billion – for 4,500 projects in 170 countries, but  there is no easily available information on the total value of its ongoing projects.

GIZ Staff levels and location compared to  other agencies

GIZ has office in 130 countries outside of Germany, and as of 31 December 2017, GIZ had a total of 19,506 staff, 57% of whom were women.. Of these, 3,753 were working in Germany and 2,305 were employees seconded abroad. In addition, 13,448 staff were working as national personnel in the partner countries. Eighty per cent of GIZ's total workforce were working abroad.

In comparison to GIZ:

  • BMZ the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, which provides 90% of the GIZ budget, itself had only 1000 employees, with 120 posted overseas in 43 offices.
  • UNDP had 17,500 employees in 170 countries
  • USAID,  had a total staff of slightly more than 10,000 in 2016, including American nationals and host country employees, 3,000 working in the U.S.,  with approximately 2,000 USAID  staff or others working abroad, and roughly 5,000 local staff overseas in 50 countries.  [USAID staffing report to Congress, June 2016, p. 4, 79.] 
  • DFID had 2,876 (2,852 in 2015–16), including 1,589 in the UK and 1,287 overseas. [Annual Report and Accounts 2016–17, p. 18]  
A table comparing GIZ staff levels and location of work to those of UNDP, USAID, DFID and BMZ
Staff levels and location for GiZ, UNDP, USAID, DFID and BMZ

GIZ capacity development sectors

GIZ describes its own “core competence” as capacity development,  within a wide range of sectors, including in the 1,712
projects still active in 2019, 

Governance and democracy including  GIZ projects on
  • Parliamentary, municipal council, audit court and electoral commission development
  • Pro-poor governance policies
  • Gender equality
  • Corruption prevention
  • Human rights
  • Law and justice reform,  legal drafting, enforcement and promoting access to justice
  • Decentralization
  • Urban and municipal development
  • E governance, communication and media development
  • Public finance reform
  • Public administration reform
  • Extractive sector good governance

Rural development  including GIZ projects on
  • Agricultural Policy,
  • Development of rural habitats
  • Land governance
  • Food security, food standards and safety
  • Agricultural trade, and  value chains
  • Fishing, aquaculture and coastal zone management
  • Local and regional business development
  • Sustainable natural resource and agricultural management
  • Agricultural research
  • Water and agriculture
  • Climate change and biological diversity

  • Sustainable water supply and sanitation
  • Water policy
  • Water resources management
  • Basic energy supply, energy efficiency, renewable energy and international energy policy
  • Transport policy and infrastructure management
  • Cities, transport and climate

Security, reconstruction and peace  including GIZ projects on
  • Disaster risk management
  • Food security in conflicts and disasters
  • Reconstruction of infrastructure and environment
  • Security sector reform
  • Crisis prevention and peace building
Social development including GIZ projects on
  • Education for all policy development
  • Capacity building for teachers
  • Health promotion
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • HIV and health
  • Strengthening health systems
  • Anti-poverty social protection, social transfers, pensions

Environment and Climate change  including GIZ  projects on     
  • Environmental Policy development and development of a green economy
  • Support to partners for implementing the Convention on Climate Change
  • Environmental Finance
  • Regional environmental cooperation
  • Integrated ozone and climate protection
  • Forest policy and sustainable forest management
  • Combating desertification
  • Conserving biological diversity
  • Waste and recycling management
  • Improving resource efficiency and environmentally sound management in small and medium sized 
  • enterprises
  • Sustainable tourism

Economic development and employment  including projects on 
  • Labour market –oriented technical and vocational education and training systems
  • Skills development for the poorest population, through training, micro loans and business development services
  • Promoting employment, and improving employment policy
  • Microfinance
  • Rural finance and agricultural small and medium enterprises
  • Insurance policy development
  • Financial sector stability and capital market development
  • Promoting environmentally and socially sustainable economic practices in the private sector
  • Supporting value change analysis and policy development
  • Local and regional economic development, and regional economic integration
  • Migration management policy development
  • Economic policy advice for sustainable development
  • Trade policy
  • Infrastructure and consumer protection

Project Data

For those interested in more detail about any individual project, the GIZ transparency policy includes the GIZ Project Data link allows readers 

  1. First - to select a region,  to see the total number of projects, and the concentration by sector
  2. Second - to select a country (or countries)
  3. Third to sort by sector, 
  4. Fourth  to get details on the project topic, start date, the amount of money, the project officer responsible, with the contact email address.

Map showing the first two steps to get detailed GIZ project data - first selecting a region, and second a country
GIZ project detail - selecting a region, and a country (click to enlarge

Step 3 - sectors and projects, and Step 4 - details on an individual project, including amount, dates, project topic, responsible officer and email contact information
GIZ  project detail - selecting a sector and a project

Results Based Management, Monitoring and Evaluation at GIZ

There are a number of documents produced by GIZ over the past 7 years, outlining slightly varying  approaches to describing results.  In some the sequence appears to be a standard version of the  OECD/DAC results chain as described in a 2017 OECD synthesis of donor results based management, I reviewed in March 2018.

Table showing the results chain from inputs to outputs to outcomes and to impacts
OECD-DAC standard results chain, Rosie Zwart: Strengthening the Results Chain, Policy Paper # 7 OECD, p. 7, 2017.Add caption

  But in more complex GIZ projects, programmes or Fund arrangements, in different documents the results chain has several variations

Chart showing 3 variations on the terms used in some GIZ documents for the sequence of results in a results chain
Variations on the GIZ results chain
In some cases the Outcomes are disaggregated as Immediate and Intermediate Outcomes.

The most authoritative of the guides provided, one which appears to have set the basic framework for subsequent GIZ statements on results, is the 2014 Guidelines on Designing and Using a Results-Based Monitoring system (RBM system) (p. 7).  It essentially abandons the linear concept of results, and puts them in what is probably a more realistic, although somewhat confusing context as a series of interrelated activities,  short term and long term results.
Diagram showing the relationship between activities and results for GiZ
The GiZ Results Model (click to enlarge)
GIZ itself refers to this in the Results-Based Monitoring System Framework of Reference  available from the Waginengan University's Managing for, as “…a complex, non-linear results model that opens up a systemic view, as it maps the entire change process influenced by the development measure”.

How the GIZ Results Model is interpreted in every situation varies however.  In the 2014 GIZ guide Indicators:  A Working Aid 
Dr. Justine Hunter  notes that

"In results chains, a distinction is made between input indicators, activity indicators, output indicators, outcome indicators and impact indicators, in line with OECD/DAC terminology. In practice, however, donors do not have a standard definition or understanding of which dimensions in the change process are measured at which results level. Nor are results chains always systematically adjusted to OECD/DAC terminology” p. 18
In practice, in large and complex projects with multiple components  such as the Extractive  Industries Transparency Initiative, a multi-donor project to which GIZ is a contributor, the  results map in  the abstract, as visualized by the GIZ M&E Guidelines for EITI Impact 
could be so complex as to discourage participants.

The GiZ Results Model Diagram for a multi-initiative programme on extractive industries
GIZ Guide - Attempting to Map Results in Extractive Industries

An illustration of the possible complexity in applying the GIZ Results Model to projects is illustrated in one coastal zone biodiversity project, included in the notes by Eric J. Lacroix for a 2015 course on Project Management at Kulna University in Bangladesh.  The results model looked like this (p. 35):
Complex activity and results map for a coastal zone biodiversity project in Bangladesh
Example of the GiZ Results Model applied to a coastal zone biodiversity project

As the GIZ  M&E Guidelines for the EITI initiative noted 

“Sometimes the complexity of this map of different outputs and outcomes and the different  stakeholders responsible for them can lead to people giving up on monitoring and evaluation. They produce reports of aggregated activities and outputs instead because at that level of the results model it is easiest to generate attributable and quantitative data to describe the results of an EITI programme. This kind of reporting fails to address the question of whether all of that activity had a positive impact or not; no theories have been tested, no evidence has been proven or disproven” [p. 5]

The GiZ Results Model in Practice

 But as Dawn Roberts noted in a 2013 World Bank Institute paper on managing knowledge results which reviewed an earlier
draft of the GIZ results model,  “The results model is designed to be compatible with the results logic of other development agencies while also remaining flexible enough for use across all GIZ’s business areas and instruments.” [p. 16]

And, given the GIZ focus on results as changes, not just completed activities or Outputs, the flexibility on language and terminology means that in practice, in the field,  the complex results model can be translated into something easier to work with, easier to use for developing indicators and for producing results reports.  The abstract pathways to impacts diagram for the EITI M&E Guidelines above, for example, has produced a somewhat simpler generic draft results model,  which is still under discussion.
diagram showing from the bottom up the path from activities to outputs, outcomes, impacts, dimensions and finally highly aggregated impacts for a group of projects
The simplified generic draft GiZ results model for extractive industries projects

I have found that working on indicator development for a GIZ project, the framework provides no barrier to focused discussions with stakeholders, so in practice it is adaptable..

GIZ also has a fairly comprehensive and complex Excel tool for entering the results, indicators and progress to help them aggregate results agency wide.  But most of the burden for using this appears to go on the shoulders of GIZ staff, not field project managers, and there are, in any case some detailed guides on how to use the tool for projects in different sectors.

The bottom line:

GiZ keeps a low profile, but it is a large organization with extensive reach in technical cooperation throughout the world, and despite an initial appearance of complexity, its approach to Results-Based Management is flexible, and relatively easy to work with.


Greg Armstrong is a Results-Based Management specialist who focuses on the use of clear language in RBM training, and in the creation of usable planning, monitoring and reporting frameworks.  For links to more Results-Based Management Handbooks and Guides, go to the RBM Training website.

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