The rationale for evaluation mainstreaming is straightforward: evaluation creates value only when lessons are drawn and incentives encourage institutional learning. Accountability as well as organizational adaptation are facilitated by the incorporation of evaluation processes in policy formation and program administration. This article is about the `what, why and how' of evaluation mainstreaming; it does not dwell on the `whether'. First, mainstreaming is defined and its prominence in the policy-making discourse is explained. Second, a theory of mainstreaming is suggested and its relevance to the development process in poor countries is highlighted. Third, the process of evaluation mainstreaming within organizations is examined, using the World Bank as an example.
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