3ie was founded with the conviction that using high-quality evidence to inform decisions on development programs can improve lives. For over a decade, our services and research products like evidence gap maps, impact evaluations, and systematic reviews have helped decision-makers inform their work.
We have tried and tested various approaches to understand how our research evidence and various initiatives contribute to our impact and development effectiveness. While we continue to innovate, this page summarizes our approach, some stories and what we have learned.
What we mean by impact
We monitor impact at two levels:
- the use of our research to inform changes in policies and programs, that in turn affect the lives of people
- the success of our initiatives in facilitating access to and use of high-quality evidence and in strengthening the culture of using evidence across a broad spectrum of stakeholders.
Impact of our research
Research evidence can contribute in several ways to real world decision-making. In documenting the impact of 3ie’s research, we have found that it can contribute to policy or program discussions, as well as decisions to change the design of policies or programs, scale them up or shut them down. Here are examples of recent impacts of our research:
3ie’s impact evaluation of the National Rural Livelihoods Project enabled the Indian government to respond to questions in Parliament around the impact of its flagship poverty alleviation program. The evaluation has also been used by the World Bank to inform the design of economic inclusion programs in general and subsequent initiatives under the program in particular.
Engagement around 3ie’s Food Security and Nutrition Evidence Gap Map (EGM) prompted GIZ’s Knowledge for Nutrition program to invest in a “living EGM.” The living EGM is now regularly updated and strengthening the evidence-to-policy interface for practitioners and knowledge providers at GIZ and Nutrition International.
Impact of our initiatives
While a significant part of our work is to map, generate and synthesize research evidence, we have several initiatives aimed at addressing the barriers to evidence use.
Improving access to evidence
We know that evidence is more likely to be used if it is timely, responsive to needs, and accessible. To help facilitate access to evidence for all types of decision-makers, 3ie hosts and manages the Development Evidence Portal, the largest-of-its-kind online library of impact evaluations, systematic reviews, and evidence gap maps focused on low- and middle-income countries. Practitioners and policymakers use our portal in various ways. Below, we feature a few of them talking about how it helps their work and its impact.
We use the DEP, and the Africa EGM in particular, to motivate and advocate for EBPM with our government partners. This takes place, for example, when discussing the merits of setting up more systematic knowledge management processes within government.
Laurenz Langer, Senior Researcher and Evidence Synthesis Portfolio Lead, Africa Centre for Evidence
The DEP does not only contain far more than 10,000 primary studies – it also makes them usable by coding a lot of their characteristics. It has been tremendously helpful in being able to tell policymakers and practitioners: The evidence is here, it has been collected and vetted as a global public good – let’s use it! By providing the DEP, 3ie helps to make the crucial argument that evidence use is doable and efficient.
Martin Bruder, Head of Department at the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval)
Our partners at the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) also support and use the DEP. Bård Vegar Solhjell, Director General, Norad, talks about its significance and how it helps in promoting learning to help make better decisions in this video.
Strengthening the culture of using evidence
We work with governments and other organizations to build their capacities in evaluation and to strengthen their processes and incentives that promote evidence-informed decision-making. In addition to providing training on various evaluation methods, we offer ongoing support services to ensure our partners have access to the most up-to-date evidence and evaluation tools. We also offer tailored advisory services to development institutions and governments that strive to improve their evidence culture.
Learn more about our approach and initiatives to strengthen the culture of using evidence by browsing through the resources below:
Know your impact
3ie offers a range of services to help organizations understand the impact of their research and to strengthen the capacity among decision-makers to generate and use evidence. If you’re interested in knowing more about our approach or services, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to summaries, we have produced videos, publications and blogs featuring evidence impact stories. Use the links below to learn more.