Admissible Evidence in the Court of Development Evaluation? The Impact of CARE’s SHOUHARDO Project on Child Stunting in Bangladesh

Along with the rise of the development effectiveness movement of the last few decades, experimental impact evaluation methods – randomised controlled trials and quasi-experimental techniques – have emerged as a dominant force. While the increased use of these methods has contributed to improved understanding of what works and whether specific projects have been successful, their ‘gold standard’ status threatens to exclude a large body of evidence from the development effectiveness dialogue. In this paper we conduct an evaluation of the impact on child stunting of CARE’s SHOUHARDO project in Bangladesh, the first large-scale project to use the rights-based, livelihoods approach to address malnutrition. In line with calls for a more balanced view of what constitutes rigor and scientific evidence, and for the use of more diversified and holistic methods in impact evaluations, we employ a mixed-methods approach. The results from multiple data sources and methods, including both non-experimental and quasi-experimental, are triangulated to arrive at the conclusions.

  • Published: October 2011

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