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May 2014   Making Evidence Work
Asian Development Bank-3ie international evaluation conference

Pre-announcement: call for papers and pre-conference workshop proposals In association with the Asian Development Bank, we are hosting an international conference, Impact evaluation to inform policies, programs and projects: innovations in methods and insights, 1-5 September 2014 in Manila, the Philippines. A call for papers and pre-conference workshop proposals will be issued in early May. It will be the first major international conference on impact evaluation and systematic reviews held in the Asia region.

The event will comprise pre-conference workshops from 1-3 September and the conference from 3-5 September. There will be five to six streams of pre-conference workshops and up to eight streams of parallel sessions at the conference, allowing for over 150 presentations of papers. Major international figures in impact evaluation are being invited for the plenary sessions. Papers that cover aspects of impact evaluation findings, methods or translating evidence into policy and practice will be invited. Bursaries will be available for participants from low- and middle-income countries. For queries, please email conference2014@3ieimpact.org             Read more


Current funding opportunity


BBC Media Action's mHealth Services Programme: request for qualifications
We invite submissions of qualifications to be considered for a proposal preparation grant for designing an impact evaluation of BBC Media Action's mHealth (provision of health-related services using mobile communication technology) services programme to improve maternal and child health in India. The mHealth services under consideration for this call are Mobile Kunji, Mobile Academy and Kilkari. The deadline for applications is 23:59 GMT, 12 May 2014. Read more           Download RFQ

Grant pre-announcement

Replication Window 3, HIV Prevention: request for expressions of interest
Our Replication Window 3 will soon invite expressions of interest from researchers to conduct internal replications of influential, innovative or controversial impact evaluations of biomedical, behavioural, social and structural HIV prevention interventions. Please check our website regularly for the announcement.


Workshop on impact evaluation of HIV and AIDS programmes
We are offering five bursaries to candidates from eastern and southern Africa to attend a MEASURE Evaluation workshop on evaluation of HIV and AIDS and health programmes to be held 21 July -1 August in Pretoria, South Africa. The deadline for applications is 21 May 2014.

Grant and programme updates

Transparency and Accountability Thematic Window awards
We have announced three provisional awards for the impact evaluation of interventions that aim to increase transparency and accountability in the governance of natural resources. The awardees are from the Center for Global Development, US, Kumasi Institute of Technology, Energy and Environment, Ghana and Economic Research Center, Azerbaijan.

HIV oral self-testing Thematic Window 2
The six initial 3ie-funded formative studies in Kenya for HIV oral self-tests have been completed. These studies will inform the design of the second phase of this programme which we will launch in the second quarter. To support the launch, the team held a matchmaking event in Nairobi on 28-29 April for researchers and programme implementers interested in submitting a proposal for evaluating pilot programmes using HIV oral self-tests.

Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Thematic Window
We received 16 applications for proposal preparation grants for designing impact evaluations related to climate change mitigation and adaptation. They are currently under review. We hope to fund seven to eight proposal preparation grants of up to US$ 30,000 on reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD/REDD+) activities and disaster-risk reduction, especially through early warning systems.

Successful policy engagement

Building relationships with implementing agencies, India
The State Government of Bihar in India spends US$ 200 million annually on its supplementary nutrition programme to improve child nutrition. Leakage is endemic; government estimates are that approximately 50 per cent of the spending is diverted, with meals provided for only 60 per cent of the days. An on-going study by IDinsight in collaboration with the Integrated Child Development Services Directorate of the Department of Social Welfare (DoSW) is looking at alternative models to decrease leakage and improve delivery of nutritional supplements. During the baseline survey, the issue surfaced of DoSW field staff being compensated for food purchases at prices fixed in 2008.e. The Secretary, DoSW, with assistance from IDinsight, has drafted a new field staff allowance policy that accounts for inter-temporal and inter-regional price fluctuations, while ensuring that prices are not inflated for private gain. Although outside the remit of their study, this work by the study team has helped build their relationship with the implementing agency. Read more about the study

Targeting the intended beneficiary in a harmonised social cash transfer programme, Zimbabwe
The Government of Zimbabwe's harmonised social cash transfer (HSCT) programme is targeted towards ultra-poor households with labour constraints or high dependency ratios. These are typically AIDS-affected households, with orphans and vulnerable children or with caregivers who are HIV-positive. Researchers from the University of North Carolina are trying to investigate the economic impact of the HSCT on both target households and the local community. An initial report from the project on targeting drew attention to high inclusion and exclusion errors. The main donor for the HSCT programme, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), asked the study team how these errors compared to international experience, following which DFID agreed to continue support to the programme. Read more about the study

New publication from 3ie-supported studies

Designing experiments to measure spillover effects, Baird, Sarah, J. Aislinn Bohren, Craig McIntosh and Berk Özler. PIER Working Paper No. 14-006, February 2014.

3ie publications

3ie Annual Report 2013: In 2013, we continued to lead in the production of high-quality, policy-relevant evidence that helped improve development policy and practice in developing countries. The annual report highlights our work and continued growth in new and important thematic areas and other achievements.

Replication paper series: We have launched a new publication series featuring replication studies of development impact evaluations funded through our replication programme. The first paper in the series, Quality evidence for policymaking: I'll believe it when I see the replication, reviews trends in social science research and emphasises the importance of replication for evidence-based policymaking in international development.

Systematic review summary series launch: We have launched another new publication series featuring summaries of full reviews that are designed for policymakers and practitioners. The first summary is Farmer field schools: from agricultural extension to adult education. The authors find that at least 10 million farmers in 90 countries have participated in farmer field schools (FFSs) to gain specialist agricultural skills, knowledge and – in some programmes – empowerment. But FFSs should be used selectively to solve specific problems in particular contexts – not as a one-size-fits-all approach. The full review will be available through the Campbell Collaboration in early May 2014.

Systematic review: The latest 3ie-funded systematic review on export processing zones (EPZs) collects, reviews and synthesises evidence from 59 studies on the impact of EPZs on employment, wages and labour conditions – specifically on freedom of association, health and safety and, working hours.

Impact evaluation reports: We have published studies from Mexico, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here are the details.

An evaluation of Mexico's Programa de estancias infantiles para apoyar a madres trabajadoras (PEI) daycare programme finds that mothers have benefited and were able to increase their employment and working hours, but there was no significant impact on income. Another study from Mexico evaluating the non-contributory social pension programme 70 y más shows that the cash transfer programme has significant positive effects on the nutrition and mental health of elderly people. The impact is particularly pronounced among women in all types of populations, indigenous people and the poorest.

Developing country governments often lack verifiable household income information to identify beneficiaries for social programmes. A study from Indonesia analyses three targeting methodologies – proxy means testing, self-targeting and community targeting – across 600 villages. The findings show that self-targeting is more accurate in identifying poorer beneficiaries and has lower administrative costs.

Community-driven reconstruction programmes are common in post-conflict settings but there is no evidence to indicate their effectiveness. An evaluation of the Tuungane programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo, suggests the need to reassess the effectiveness of the community-driven reconstruction model. The study has been useful to the implementers in modifying the design of their programmes in other countries.

Working Paper: Our latest working paper, Impact evaluations of development programmes: experiences from Viet Nam by Nguyen Viet Cuong discusses experiences and difficulties in evaluating the impact of development programmes in Viet Nam.

Other recommended readings

The IADB Development Effectiveness Overview 2013 is a leading example of incorporating impact evaluations into a results framework, and notable for its emphasis on recognising and learning from failure. And in another candid report from a development agency, Can we demonstrate the difference Norwegian aid makes?, Norad berates itself for its lack of impact evaluation.

Journal of Development Effectiveness, vol 6, issue 1 is out. The issue features a paper on Conditional, unconditional and everything in between: a systematic review of the effects of cash transfer programmes on schooling outcomes by Sarah Baird, Francisco H.G. Ferreira, Berk Özler and Michael Woolcock. There is a section on book reviews as well. Howard White reviews three books -- Power: why some people have it – and others don't, by Jeffrey Pfeffer, Hard facts, dangerous half-truths and total nonsense, by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton and The signal and the noise: the art and science of prediction, by Nate Silver.

Useful resources

UN Women has launched a Gender Equality Evaluation Portal with over 350 evaluations on what works to achieve gender equality and women's empowerment. The portal serves as an important tool to promote evaluation findings and contribute to improved policy design and programming in the area of gender equality.

Annette N Brown, our Deputy Director recently did a presentation on Cost effectiveness analysis at a webinar organised by InterAction. Watch recording.

How can the forest conservation sector build a body of evidence like the public health sector? Philip Davies, 3ie Deputy Director - Systematic Reviews, spoke at an international workshop on Evaluating Forest Conservation Initiatives in Barcelona. Watch recording.

Has Mexico's multidimensional metric for measuring poverty changed public policy? Watch recording of 3ie Delhi seminar by Gonzalo Hernandez Licona, Executive Secretary, National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy, Mexico.

Have social audits improved public service delivery under India's Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act? Watch recording of 3ie Delhi seminar by Prof. Farzana Afridi, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi.

New blog posts

Evidence Matters, our blog site, is teeming with new insights and ideas, including Is independence always a good thing?; Failure is the new black in development fashionWhen will researchers ever learn?How much evidence is enough for action?;  Challenges for India's new Independent Evaluation Office; and The Global Open Knowledge Hub: building a dream machine-readable world.  

Visit the blog site to subscribe and view our posts

Upcoming events

3ie Delhi Seminar, 16 May, Can the major public works policy buffer negative shocks in early childhood? Evidence from Andhra Pradesh, Speaker: Aparajita Dasgupta, Fred.H.Bixby Postdoctoral Fellow at Population Council.

Webinar, 7 May, 3-4 p.m. Central European Summer Time, The why and the how of impact evaluation in microinsurance. Seats are limited. Please register to reserve your seat.

3ie in the news

Devex featured Howard White's presentation on evidence-based policies to reduce poverty, hosted by the Independent Evaluation Group and held at the World Bank headquarters during the recent Spring Meeting.

SciDevNet wrote about our participation in the Global Open Knowledge Hub, an open-access digital data initiative to help increase online accessibility of development research coming from the global South.

The New York Times cited a 3ie-supported impact evaluation of the Cheeranjivi Yojana, a health insurance programme in the state of Gujarat, India, undertaken by Duke University.

3ie jobs

Senior Evaluation Specialist, New Delhi: The senior specialist will manage grant windows and provide technical support to 3ie-funded research, among several other tasks.

Evaluation Specialist, New Delhi: The specialist will provide high-level technical oversight, management and support for multiple 3ie-funded impact evaluation studies.

Other announcements

Evaluations that make a difference: Call for evaluation stories. Deadline: 5 May

Call for documentation of innovative design, method, process, tool or technique for evaluation in South Asia. Deadline: 24 May

UN University-World Institute for Development and Economics Research Development Conference: Call for papers. Deadline: 15 May

Italian Development Economists Association Annual Conference: Call for papers. Deadline: 30 June

Italian Society for Climate Sciences annual conference on Climate Change – Scenarios, Impacts and Policy. Call for papers. Deadline: 20 May

Research Evaluation and Performance Measurement conference, 5-7 May, Cape Town

Effective Development Conference, 15-26 May, Bangkok

Executive education on Using Evidence to Improve Policy and Programs, 22-27 June, Harvard Kennedy School.

Stay connected to 3ie
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.
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