3ie invented evidence gap maps to improve decision-making around where to make investments in producing more evidence or synthesising existing evidence. Since then, we have pioneered further advancements, including developing our interactive online map platform and innovating evidence mapping to broaden its use in development decision-making.
3ie funds and quality assures formative and impact evaluations of development programmes in low- and middle-income countries. These evaluations provide crucial evidence on what works, for whom, why and at what cost. On our website, we host the largest-of-its-kind impact evaluation repository that includes summaries of both 3ie-funded and other studies.
We are global leaders in producing and assuring the quality of theory-based systematic reviews of the effectiveness of development interventions. 3ie continues to innovate and improve synthesis and systematic review methodologies and the uptake and use of synthesised evidence.
3ie specialises in increasing access to, demand for and use of evidence by governments, parliaments, programme managers, civil society, programme participants and the media. We do this by emphasising the value of planning and engaging with stakeholders to ensure that evaluations and reviews are relevant and useful. We use robust and effective monitoring to measure evidence use so that we can convey evidence impact on programmes and policies with greater confidence.
We set up our replication programme to address the need for a freely available global public good that helps improve the quality and reliability of impact evaluation evidence used for development decision-making. Replication is the most established method of research validation in science, yet it has not been fully embraced by the research community or development donors, leading to this gap.
3ie’s evidence programmes and services help build technical capacity to commission and conduct rigorous evaluations, produce evidence gap maps, conduct evidence synthesis and use evidence. We also work with L&MIC governments to build effective monitoring and evaluation systems. 3ie’s bursary programme supports L&MIC policymakers, programme managers and researchers to participate in specialised training and international events.
3ie has always been strongly committed to research transparency and open access to data. We are proud to be a leader in the growing movement to improve global standards for research transparency.
On request, 3ie provides services to partners for supporting the generation and use of evidence to inform their development policies and programmes. We commission and quality assure evidence gap maps, evaluations and syntheses as well as provide training.
3ie plays a unique role in promoting collaboration among researchers, policymakers and development programme managers at country, regional and global levels. Our global advocacy for evidence-informed action helps ensure decision makers have quality evidence about what works when they need it.
Searching this database will bring up published impact evaluations from our Impact Evaluation Repository as well as completed 3ie-funded impact evaluations.
These provide a visual display of completed and ongoing systematic reviews and impact evaluations in a sector or sub-sector, structured around a framework of interventions and outcomes.
We provide funding for replications, conduct in-house replication research and publish guidance on replication methodology. We also provide funding to original authors of 3ie-funded for preparing their raw datasets.
As part of our mandate as a knowledge producer and translator for our main audiences, we publish a range of knowledge products. These include briefs, impact evaluation reports, systematic review reports and summaries, replication papers, evidence gap map reports, scoping reports and working papers.
3ie’s Registry for International Development Impact Evaluations (RIDIE) aims to enhance the transparency and quality of impact evaluation research before it begins.
3ie’s evidence programmes support studies to fill critical knowledge gaps in a sector, sub-sector or in an area with limited rigorous evidence. We fund studies under a specific theme or which address a particular question or set of questions in programme areas where our donors want to expand global public knowledge of what works and what does not.
To help address gaps in the understanding of what works and what does not, we fund a variety of studies across this programme area, including interventions focused on insurance, extension, land-use and forestry, and innovation and technology.
3ie supports impact evaluations, systematic reviews and evidence gap maps on education effectiveness that help answer the questions of what works, for whom, why and at what cost.
We fund the production of rigorous evidence on biodiversity and forest conservation programmes, environmental regulations, impact of sustainable fuels, climate change mitigation and adaptation.
3ie is supporting the generation of evidence in areas such as transparency and accountability in natural resource governance. We also fund the production of rigorous evidence on interventions to curb corruption, judicial and civil service reforms, land reforms, public financial management, conflict prevention and peacebuilding, decentralised governance and public service delivery.
We fund the production of rigorous evidence on interventions on HIV and AIDS, immunisation maternal and child health, nutrition and sexual and reproductive health through a number of evidence programmes. Evidence products from these programmes include replication studies, evidence gap maps, systematic reviews and impact evaluations.
We are supporting the generation of rigorous evidence in humanitarian contexts on interventions related to water, sanitation and hygiene, food security, multi-sectoral humanitarian programming and interventions targeting malnutrition.
We fund the production of rigorous evidence on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of public transportation by rail, bus and rapid transit systems, and essential services such as electricity and gas to expand access, foster inclusive growth, and combat climate change through sustainable systems.
3ie, in collaboration with India’s rural development ministry is working to generate rigorous evidence on the impact of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission.
We support policy-relevant studies that contribute to improving our understanding of public expenditure trends and improving the delivery of public goods.
We support impact evaluations to build the evidence base on the effectiveness of interventions that reduce the risks faced by the poor through participation in public works and employment programmes.
3ie’s has two major evidence programmes that support the generation and use of high-quality evidence for informing decision-making in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector
We work with various departments in the Philippines government to develop and fund rigorous evidence useful for policymakers. We also support capacity-building activities for Philippine researchers and support the impact evaluation management framework of the National Economic and Development Authority.
Working in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister, the primary aim is to improve developmental outcomes through evidence-informed decision making in Uganda. 3ie is currently supporting evaluation of government programmes around youth livelihood, family planning, public service delivery and local governance, and universal primary education.
3ie and the government of Benin are working on a a multi-year regional initiative that aims to promote the institutionalization of evaluation in government systems across eight countries in West Africa, including: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
This is a five-year programme (2019-23) that is working on increasing the use of evidence by policymakers in Ghana, Pakistan and Uganda. In partnership with country governments, this programme aims to develop capacity and promote innovation in increasing evidence-informed decision-making. SEDI is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
3ie funds internal replications of influential or innovative impact evaluations of financial interventions on mobile money, cash transfers, bank deposits, and other financial service interventions targeted towards underserved and unbanked populations in developing countries.
3ie funds internal replications of influential or innovative impact evaluations of biomedical, behavioural, social, and structural HIV prevention and treatment interventions to improve the evidence base in low- and middle-income countries.
Adolescence (ages 10–19) is a critical time period in life during which people undergo extensive biological, psychological and social changes. Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) plays an integral role during adolescence and can affect many aspects of a person’s life during and after this time. Programming that addresses this health area has the potential to greatly improve not only adolescents’ SRH, but also their overall health and their ability to reach their full potential.
To best invest finite resources in programming aimed at improving adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH), decision-makers need to know what works and what does not, particularly within a low- and middle-income country (L&MIC) context. Impact evaluations – studies using experimental or quasi-experimental methods to measure effectiveness – help answer these questions, as do high-quality systematic reviews.
We sought to identify the key gaps in the evidence of the impact of ASRH programming in developing country settings by creating an evidence gap map of impact evaluations and systematic reviews.
Main findings in the gap map
Overall, we find that while there is a considerable amount of impact evaluation evidence, it only addresses some questions within this broad topic. Often with a narrow scope of outcomes, many studies do not address the diversity of adolescents or the effect of social norms. Furthermore, we note a wide range of quality in reporting, and that studies often include inadequate descriptions around the context of the evaluation, the interventions and associated theories of change. The question of cost-effectiveness is notable in its absence from the research questions.
High-quality synthesis that focuses on specific intervention types for adolescents in L&MICs is largely missing. There are opportunities for researchers to take the next step from reviewing the evidence on a broad topic, such as HIV prevention, to seeking answers around specific approaches, outcomes and adolescent sub-populations.
3ie has an interactive and dynamic online platform which allows users to explore the evidence included in a particular EGM, with links to user-friendly summaries of all studies.
3ie also produced a scoping paper that reviews the supply of and demand for evidence from impact evaluations and systematic reviews on ASRH interventions. It reveals several areas where a high demand for evidence combined with low or moderate supply of evidence suggest the need for further research.