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December 2013   Making Evidence Work
Transparency and Accountability Thematic Window: Request for Proposals

We are requesting proposals from research or evaluation institutions or consortia to develop rigorous, policy-relevant, multi-year research proposals on the intended and unintended impact of transparency and accountability (T/A) interventions, led by or involving civil society, that aim to increase the transparency, accountability and governance of natural resources, especially for commodities such as oil, gas and minerals. Applications must be submitted by 23:59 GMT, 18 December 2013. Read more   Download RFP




We are providing a full scholarship for the University of East Anglia (UEA) course on Impact Evaluation for Evidence-Based Policy in Development and three full scholarships for the short course on Beyond Surveys and Experiments: Other Approaches to Impact Evaluation. The courses will be held between 13 June and 11 July and 16-20 June 2014 respectively. Please send your applications directly to UEA by 14 March 2014.

Grant updates

New HIV Treatment Grant: We have received a new grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund impact evaluations of programmes to improve HIV/AIDS treatment services, including activities targeting linkage to care, adherence, and retention. Studies will evaluate current prevalent and promising practices that have not been adequately evaluated, to identify whether they are effective, and/or whether certain interventions are more cost-effective than others. Scoping work is beginning to identify current activities and best practices that might be suitable for impact evaluation. The grant-making mechanism will be determined when scoping work is complete.

HIV Self-Testing: A pre-completion workshop for the six HIV self-testing formative research studies underway in Kenya will be held in conjunction with the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) 7-11 December 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa, in order to share preliminary results. Policy messages will be presented to decision-makers in early 2014 at a public event in Kenya. Results from the studies will be used to guide the design of pilot interventions in phase two.

Successful policy engagement

Subsidising school fees for enrolment: Whom to pay and when? The Government of Macedonia is implementing a cash transfer programme conditional on attendance in secondary schools, and is experimenting with modalities of transfer. The government has commissioned an evaluation, supported by 3ie, to test if varying the recipient (mother figure versus the male head of the household) and timing (providing equal payments in all trimesters versus smaller payments earlier in the academic year and an end-of-year bonus) of the transfer impacts the programme objectives differently. The director of the conditional cash transfer programme credited the positive study results as having contributed, in part, to the programme's continued funding from the World Bank. Read more on the study

Evidence from 3ie-supported systematic reviews

Do conditional and unconditional cash transfers improve schooling outcomes? A systematic review found that both conditional and unconditional cash transfers improved enrolment in and attendance at school, with conditional cash transfers having produced a bigger effect. It also shows that programmes that rigorously monitor and enforce conditions have a substantially larger impact on enrolment than those programmes with minimal monitoring and enforcement. The study concludes that more research is needed on the impact of cash transfers on longer-term outcomes, such as school attainment, and on unconditional cash transfers more generally. 3ie provided the quality assurance and editorial support for this study. Read more

Do post-basic technical and vocational education and training (TVET) interventions improve employability? Evidence from a systematic review shows that TVET programmes have a small, positive impact, particularly on formal employment rates and monthly earnings. Women who graduated from TVET programmes increased the number of hours they worked in paid employment but there was no increase in working hours among male graduates. However, the methodological limitations and gaps in the current evidence base led the researchers to conclude that more rigorous evaluations of TVET programmes in low- and middle-income settings are needed. Read more

Publications from 3ie-supported studies

Non-contributory pensions, Sebastian Galiani, Paul Gertler, Rosangela Brando, CEGA Working Paper Series No WPS 031, 2013.

More schooling and more learning? Effects of a 3-year conditional cash transfer program in Nicaragua after 10 years, Tania Barham, Karen Macours, John A Maluccio, IADB Working Paper, 2013.

Nutrition, iron deficiency anemia, and the demand for iron fortified salt: evidence from an experiment in rural Bihar, Abhijit Banerjee, Sharon Barnhardt, Esther Duflo, chapter in forthcoming NBER book on Discoveries in the Economics of Aging, edited by David A. Wise.

Heterogeneous impact of the non-contributory pension programme 70 y más on nutritional status of the elderly in rural Mexico, Martha M Téllez-Rojo, Betty Manrique-Espinoza, Karla Moreno-Tamayo, Vanessa De la Cruz-Góngora, Gustavo Ángeles, Aarón Salinas-Rodríguez, The Lancet, June 2013, vol. 381.

Other recommended reading

The Core Analytics of Randomized Experiments for Social Research by Howard Bloom. This 2006 paper is a model of clarity for those wanting a technical introduction to randomised control trials.

Useful resources

HIV/AIDS Gap Map: 3ie's HIV/AIDS gap map is a thematic evidence collection of 53 completed and on-going systematic reviews of interventions to prevent or address HIV/AIDS in low- and middle-income countries. It maps relevant systematic reviews into a framework of key policy-relevant interventions and outcomes and provides links to user-friendly summaries in the 3ie Systematic review database. The gap map identifies key gaps where little or no evidence from systematic reviews is available and where future research should be focused.

Journal of Development Effectiveness: The latest issue features papers on the Ciudadanía Porteña conditional cash transfer programme, Cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis using data on school-feeding and education assistance programmes in Nigeria, impact of teacher training on teacher and student outcomes in Beijing and other papers.

Measuring Results: International and South Asian Experiences in Impact Evaluations: We recently held a conference in New Delhi in association with the Administrative Staff College of India to bring together policymakers, donors and evaluation experts to discuss experiences and share perspectives on the value of using impact evaluation to strengthen evidence-based policymaking in South Asia. See conference presentations, recording of sessions and photographs.

Evidence Matters: 3ie launches redesigned blog site
3ie's redesigned blog site Evidence Matters has been launched with a fresh look and feel, and a new name. The blogs come from 3ie staff and pick through issues related to the generation and use of evidence in policymaking and practice. Please join the conversation and comment on the blogs. Visit the blog site to view our latest posts.
3ie Impact evaluation reports

How accurate are environmental audits if the auditor is chosen and paid for by the firm being audited? This impact evaluation of the environmental audit scheme in Gujarat, India, shows that environmental auditors chosen and paid by industrial units encourage corruption and misreporting. Independent audits, on the other hand, produce accurate reports and prompt firms to curtail pollution. Following this study, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board is changing its regulations to ensure audits are independent. Read more

Does marginal cost pricing of electricity affect the groundwater pumping behaviour of farmers? The study assesses the impact of changes in electricity pricing on the irrigation practices of tube well owners and the water market in West Bengal, India. The findings show that while metering tube wells reduced the number of pumping hours in the winter season and shrank the water market, it did not influence the boro rice cropping patterns or yields for poor farmers. Read more

Upcoming events
3ie Delhi seminar, 17 December 2013, Rainfall insurance and agricultural and financial decision: evidence from a series of experiments in India, Speaker: Shawn Cole, Harvard Business School.
3ie jobs

Senior Evaluation Specialist - Governance, Politics, and Peacebuilding, Washington, DC: The Senior Evaluation Specialist will be supporting new programmes for producing impact evaluation evidence. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

Senior Evaluation Specialist, New Delhi: The specialist will lead on the management and implementation of 3ie's grant windows and provide technical support to 3ie-funded research, among several other tasks.

Impact Evaluation Specialist, New Delhi: The specialist will provide high-level technical oversight, management and support for multiple impact evaluations.

Graphic Designer / Web Design firm, London: The graphic designer or design firm will develop the design and functionality of 3ie evidence gap maps.

Systematic Review Specialist (Consultant), London: The consultant will work on the systematic reviews database. S/he will critically appraise the quality of assigned systematic reviews, and summarise and peer review these appraisals. Application deadline: 23 December.

Science Writer (Consultant), London: The consultant will be responsible for reading systematic reviews and writing user-friendly summaries the systematic reviews database using the 3ie template. Application deadline: 23 December.

Editor, Systematic Review Database (Consultant), London: The editor will edit systematic review summaries in the database to a standard format ensuring their accuracy, and highlighting key policy-relevant messages.

Other announcements

The International Labour Organization is accepting applications for the fifth round of their Fund for Evaluation in Employment around the theme, 'Building evidence on the labour market effects of enterprise interventions'. Submission deadline: 10 December. Read more

Campbell Collaboration Colloquium 2014, 16-19 June 2014: Call for papers, posters, Submission deadline: 20 December

International workshop on What Works for Africa's Poorest? Practice and Policy, 13 January 2014: Call for papers, Submission deadline: 19 December

4th Annual Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH) conference, 3-4 June, 2014: Call for papers, Submission deadline: 20 December

Seminar on Mastering Evaluation Skills - Strategies, Methods and Tools, 16-18 December, Maastricht

IGC-ISI India Development Policy Conference, 17-18 December, New Delhi

School Choice National Conference, 20 December, New Delhi

Evidence-based resources on humanitarian assistance complied by Evidence Aid

Courses on impact evaluation being offered by RIPA International and Harvard Kennedy School

Job opening: Technical Advisor, Research, International Rescue Committee

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The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) funds impact evaluations and systematic reviews that generate high quality evidence on what works in development and why. Evidence on development effectiveness can help improve policy and improve the lives of the poor.