Browse by Theme: Monitoring & Evaluation

Many of us start working in humanitarian, development or human rights work because we want to change the world or make our country a fairer, better place to live. But in a world where that work is mostly carved up into discrete “projects”, we often end up being satisfied with so much less. If the project we’re working on meets the targets we have agreed with the donor, if an evaluation shows positive change for those we have worked with directly, we have done good work. But is that enough?

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About a decade ago, the development sector fell into the same trap the financial services industry did in the mid-1990s. We were all seduced by clever people selling clever methods we didn’t really understand. Only, we had a different acronym. Financial services had their CDSs (Credit Default Swaps), we had our RCTs (Randomised Control Trials).

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In August this year, CARE International in Ghana together with its partners – OXFAM and ISODEC – commenced a pilot evaluation of the USAID-funded Ghana’s Strengthening Accountability Mechanisms (GSAM) project, using an innovative approach to impact evaluation called Contribution Tracing. Here’s what we did, and five key lessons we learned.

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In this final blog in the 3-part blog series on Contribution Tracing, we want to show you how an ancient monk, who has been dead for over 250 years, can help us to find data with the highest probative value – in other words, helps us find strong, reliable evidence.

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In the second in this 3-part blog series on Contribution Tracing we turn our attention to finding out which items of evidence are the most powerful.

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This 3-part blog series highlights a new approach to impact evaluation called Contribution Tracing. The blog series explains key steps in Contribution Tracing that can guide evaluators, and those commissioning evaluations, to avoid common data traps, by identifying and gathering only the strongest data.

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The Doing Development Different (DDD) community emerged in August 2014 and advocates that (a) the barriers to development are as much political as technical; (b) international development agencies therefore need to design programmes to be problem-driven, locally led, flexible and adaptive, and politically smart. As Duncan Green mentioned in his blog on 4 August, NGOs have turned up late to the party, but we are doing plenty on the ground that fits under the DDD umbrella. Plus, much of what is supposedly “different” are things we ought to be doing anyway.

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