Impact of Impact Evaluations
In 2006 the Center for Global Development’s report ‘When Will We Ever Learn? Improving lives through impact evaluation’ bemoaned the lack of rigorous impact evaluations. The number of impact evaluations has since risen (to over 500 per year), as have those of systematic reviews and other synthesis products. We researched international organisations and countries, including: Mexico, Colombia, South Africa, Uganda, and Philippines, to understand how such products are being implemented and used, and what facilitates or inhibits their use. While we see definite progress, we find that:
- Impact evaluations are too often donor-driven, and not embedded in partner governments
- The willingness of policymakers to take evidence seriously is variable
- The use of evidence is not tracked well enough
- Impact evaluations should be seen within a broader spectrum of tools that support policymakers
- Those who commission them need to learn from good practice in maximising the prospects of use
Dr Richard Manning - Richard served in DFID and its predecessors from 1965-2003. He was Chair of OECD’s Development Assistance Committee from 2003-2008, since then he has worked as a consultant. He has also been Board Chair of both the Institute of Development Studies and 3ie.
Dr Ian Goldman, CLEAR Anglophone Africa - Ian is an Advisor on Evaluation and Evidence Systems, CLEAR Anglophone Africa, and former Deputy Director General in the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, South Africa.