International aid trends from a Belgian perspective
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International aid trends from a Belgian perspective
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Women and Girls’ Economic Empowerment: Measuring Results

Women and Girls’ Economic Empowerment: Measuring Results | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
What are the best methodological approaches to evaluate and assess the effects of programmes and projects on the economic empowerment of women and girls?
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On accountability under uncertainty

I’m a big fan of accountability when it comes to aid and development. We should be asking if our interventions have impact, and identifying interventions that are effective means of addressing particular development challenges. Of course, this is a bit like arguing for clean air and clean water. Seriously, who’s going to argue for dirtier water or air. Who really argues for ineffective aid and development spending?

Nobody.

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L’environnement dans la Coopération belge au développement : une évaluation (co-auteur: Koen De Koster) | BTC blog de Claude Croizer

Les négociations internationales sur le climat semblent une nouvelle fois avoir touché le fond lors de la récente conférence sur le climat qui s'est tenue à Varsovie (novembre 2013). Deux ans avant la grande conférence de Paris sur le climat, un engagement ambitieux et contraignant de la communauté internationale semble plus improbable que jamais, en dépit des récents rapports des Nations Unies sur le changement climatique et des ravages causés par le typhon Haiyan aux Philippines.

Attendu que, pour l'heure, ce sont principalement les pays en développement qui souffrent des répercussions du changement climatique, il nous faut nous demander quel pourrait être le rôle de la Coopération belge sur ce plan. Mais aussi : dans quelle mesure la Coopération belge au développement intègre-t-elle la thématique de l'environnement ?

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What Use is a Theory of Change? 6 Benefits, and Some Things to Avoid.

What Use is a Theory of Change? 6 Benefits, and Some Things to Avoid. | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

 

What is a theory of change? A way of working and thinking, and a set of questions. Aerobics for the imagination – not a form to fill in (and most definitely not logframes on steroids). Nor is it a typology or (a personal bête noire) an insanely complicated diagram that no-one coming after you can understand (see example, right). More here.

How does (or should) a good theory of change improve our work (or ‘add value’ as the marketing wannabes insist on saying)?

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How to find evidence and use it well

How to find evidence and use it well | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
'Systematic reviews are growing in popularity with donors looking for a rigorous option for assessing evidence. But are they the best approach to finding the right evidence in a flexible, robust and user friendly way?
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Science to Deliver, but no 'Science of Delivery' by Owen Barder

If the idea of “science of delivery” means breaking the problem down into predictable, soluble parts, using rigorous evaluation and spreading best practice, then it is a doomed enterprise. It is doomed even if we extend our analysis to include politics and power. It is still a version of the waterfall model which is widely used by almost everyone in the aid industry. These problems simply cannot be solved that way. You cannot design solutions to complex problems: they can only be solved by adaptation and iteration.

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Is impact evaluation of any use to ‘project beneficiaries’?

Is impact evaluation of any use to ‘project beneficiaries’? | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

Impact evaluation might be seen as a prime example of what leading participatory proponent Robert Chambers has called extractive research.  Researchers go out to communities, collect data, scurry back to their ivory towers to analyse and publish their findings.  They build up their career and reputation, and then move onto the next study. In doing all of this, the research subjects have received nothing.  They don’t even know the research ‘findings’.

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Over witte olifanten en varkens | BTC blog van Koen De Koster

Over witte olifanten en varkens | BTC blog van Koen De Koster | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

Aangezien dit mijn eerste artikel is op de blog van BTC, geloof ik dat een kleine introductie op zijn plaats is. Ik ben van een generatie die is opgegroeid met de fameuze witte olifanten van Douglas De Coninck, een generatie die nauwelijks weet waar ABOS voor staat, die de BTC-infocyclus volgde tijdens de studententijd, en vooral een generatie die gelooft in een andere en betere ontwikkelingssamenwerking. Zelf ben ik, zoals de meesten, door een samenloop van omstandigheden in de sector terechtgekomen. Door toevallige ontmoetingen, gebeurtenissen, en toch ook door een aantal invloedrijke auteurs zoals William Easterly [1], Amartya Sen [2] enz.

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Using the causal chain to make sense of the numbers

Using the causal chain to make sense of the numbers | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

At 3ie, we stress the need for a good theory of change to underpin evaluation designs. Many 3ie-supported study teams illustrate the theory of change through some sort of flow chart linking inputs to outcomes. They lay out the assumptions behind their little arrows to a varying extent. But what they almost invariably fail to do is to collect data along the causal chain. Or, in the rare cases where they do have indicators across the causal chain, they don’t present them as such.

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Evaluating conflict prevention and peacebuilding

Evaluating conflict prevention and peacebuilding | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

The DAC Network on Development Evaluation and the DAC Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF) are working together to strenghten learning and improve development results in situations of conflict and fragility, by gathering policy lessons and developing shared approaches to evaluation. Together we developed guidance on evaluating conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities. To ensure its relevance and increase the evidence base, the guidance was tested during a two year test phase and was finalised in November 2012.

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Governance indicators revisited - Matt Andrews

What is there we can measure that relates to the way authority is exercised, by government, that is broadly relevant across highly different developing countries, that does not impose too rigid a 'form' based agenda, and may even promote more functionality and development?

 

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RAPID outcome assessment - Toolkit

RAPID outcome assessment  - Toolkit | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
The RAPID Outcome Assessment (ROA) provides a learning methodology to assess and map the contribution of a project’s actions on a particular change in policy or the policy environment.
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Three Lessons from Britain's Multilateral Aid Review | Owen Barder

In 2011, the British Department for International Development undertook a thorough review of how it allocated money to 43 multilateral organisations ranging from the World Bank to the Commonwealth Secretariat. The Multilateral Aid Review was intended to improve both the value for money of Britains multilateral aid, and the transparency and accountability of aid spending. This week, Britain’s National Audit Office (NAO) – the independent public auditor similar to America’s GAO – has published a glowing report on the process, with three important lessons.
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When development evaluation gets too honest?

When development evaluation gets too honest? | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
For anyone who’s ever written a methodology section, treading the thin line between acknowledging limitations and completely undermining the findings….
There should be a development/RCT/M&E version of this:
Dye?
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Governance and Fragility: lessons learnt

Governance and Fragility: lessons learnt | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
Programming in fragile contexts is always challenging.And attempting to do 'governance' work in countries where governments are unable or unwilling to meet even the most basic needs of their people may seem impossible or, worse, irrelevant. 

Yet three years into the Within and Without the State (WWS) programme, the most important lesson we've learnt is that governance work is possible in fragile contexts - and, more than that, it's essential to tackling fragility. In December 2013, WWS published a summary of our experiences so far and some key lessons for those working on governance programming in fragile contexts.

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How do you measure the difficult stuff (empowerment, resilience) and whether any change is attributable to your role?

How do you measure the difficult stuff (empowerment, resilience) and whether any change is attributable to your role? | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

In one of his grumpier moments, Owen Barder recently branded me as ‘anti-data’, which (if you think about it for a minute) would be a bit weird foranyone working in the development sector. The real issue is of course, what kind of data tell you useful things about different kinds of programme, and how you collect them. If people equate ‘data’ solely with ‘numbers’, then I think we have a problem.


Via Learning for Development (L4D)
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Aid watchdog praises UK efforts to empower poor people but adds caveats

Aid watchdog praises UK efforts to empower poor people but adds caveats | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
Projects in Ghana and Malawi have had some success, but DfID needs a clearer and more realistic set of goals, report says
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What is a theory of change and how do we use it?

What is a theory of change and how do we use it? | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

Everyone these days (funders, bosses etc) seems to be demanding a Theory of Change (ToC), although when challenged, many have only the haziest notion of what they mean by it. It’s a great opportunity, but also a risk, if ToCs become so debased that they are no more than logframes on steroids. So in internal conversations, blogs etc I’m gradually fleshing out a description of a ToC. When I ran this past some practical evaluation Oxfamers, they helpfully added a reality check – how to have a ToC conversation with an already existing programme, rather than a blank sheet of paper?

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How to Plan when you don’t know what is going to happen? Redesigning aid for complex systems

How to Plan when you don’t know what is going to happen? Redesigning aid for complex systems | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

The crucial point is that most political, social and economic systems look like the map. Yet the aid business insists on pursuing a linear model of change, either explicitly, or implicitly because a ‘good’ funding application has a clear set of activities, outputs, outcomes and a MEL system that can attribute any change to the project’s activities – a highly linear approach. Other organizations – say forest fire managers, or the military, seem more able to cope with complexity, although I found out from a woman in one seminar who had served in Afghanistan that the power map was actually drawn up by a consultant, who was promptly sacked after showing the slide to General Petraeus, so maybe the soldiers aren’t so comfortable with complexity after all.

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Impact evaluation: how to measure what matters

Impact evaluation: how to measure what matters | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

Most global development projects aim to 'make a difference' but unless that difference can be measured and proven, the phrase can seem like empty words. Impact evaluation is often seen as what makes the difference between rhetoric and evidence-based change. It asks the questions: what would have happened if this project hadn't existed? Can positive change in this community be attributed directly to the project?

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Do We Learn from Experience in Development?

Do We Learn from Experience in Development? | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

Actes de la conférence AFD-EUDN organisée le 26 mars 2012. Réunissant plus de 1 000 participants originaires de plus de trente pays, cette session pose la question cruciale : Apprenons-nous de l'éxpérience dans le champ du développement? Si tel est le cas, comme l'évaluation peut-elle contribuer à cet aprentissage, et comment se fait-il que nous soyions incapables de mettre ces expériences en pratique ?

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Testing the Effectiveness of Payments for Ecosystem Services to Enhance Conservation in Uganda

Testing the Effectiveness of Payments for Ecosystem Services to Enhance Conservation in Uganda | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

Deforestation contributes as much as 25 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions each year. Curbing deforestation in developing countries is potentially a very cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change. Recently, the United Nations launched a major initiative to pay developing countries for reduced deforestation. The program, known as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), may be incorporated into global carbon markets under the next international climate treaty, resulting in billions of dollars in payments from wealthier countries for forest conservation.

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Tackling the evaluation challenge – how do we know if we're effective? | Oxfam GB

Tackling the evaluation challenge – how do we know if we're effective? | Oxfam GB | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

Today I get to tell you a little more about the approach taken by Oxfam, as we publish the first of a set of 26 project effectiveness reviews undertaken during 2011-12. Effectiveness reviews are used by Oxfam to try and trace its own part in development change processes, using a range    of methods. The projects that were evaluated for impact were randomly selected from a total of 400 or so mature projects.

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IFAD social reporting blog: Rigorous impact evaluations are much more than just evaluations

IFAD social reporting blog: Rigorous impact evaluations are much more than just evaluations | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

In a context where we need to do more with less, it becomes crucial to make decisions based on evidence of what works and what does not. It is equally important to have programs which are more cost-effective and paramount that rural development interventions have to work better in a specific context, and at a reasonable cost. In this sense, rigorous impact evaluations can help us in the process of achieving higher results with limited resources.

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