Catching up with Marie Gaarder, 3ie’s new executive director

On 1 February 2020, Marie Gaarder took over as 3ie’s new executive director. She sat down for a quick interview on her new role, challenges and opportunities in the evaluation sector, the persistent gaps in evidence, and what 3ie has planned in the coming year.

Launching a campaign- 2020 hindsight: what works in development?

Today we are launching, at 3ie, a yearlong social media campaign called ‘2020 Hindsight: What Works in Development.’ For our non-American readership, let me briefly explain where the idiom ‘Hindsight is 20/20’ comes from. 20/20 vision is a term used to express that you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance.

3ie: from take-off to cruising through an ever changing world

Even though it’s been over three years since I joined 3ie, I was still fascinated to read Howard White’s reflections on how it all started. A question that has often come up for me as well is about why I’m in Delhi. As Howard said, the vision of an organisation having its locus of authority be in the Global South, is something that attracted me as well.

3ie: from starting up to taking off

Back in 2008, 3ie was just my laptop and me. It has come a long way since then. Although I bid farewell to the organisation in 2015, I have continued to watch how the organisation has grown. What has 3ie achieved in the last ten years?

How many scientific facts are there about science, technology, and innovation for development?

In a recent blog post, Ronda Zelezny-Green and Alexandra Tyers claim “now scientific fact: mobile money can lift women out of poverty”. The scientific fact they cite comes from a new study [gated] published in Science by Tavneet Suri and William Jack. This study is an impact evaluation of M-PESA in Kenya using a quasi-experimental design, and it finds that increased access to M-PESA is associated with a decrease in poverty.

What did I learn about the demand for impact evaluations at the What Works Global Summit?

At the recently concluded What Works Global Summit (WWGS) which 3ie co-sponsored, a significant number of the sessions featured presentations on new impact evaluations and systematic reviews. WWGS was a perfect opportunity to learn lessons about the demand for and supply of high-quality evidence for decision-making because it brought together a diverse set of stakeholders. There were donors, knowledge intermediaries, policymakers, programme managers, researchers and service providers. They came from both developed as well as developing countries.

Impact Evaluation: How the Wonkiest Subject in the World Got Traction

Creating 3ie was the outcome of the Evaluation Gap Working Groupthat we led along with Nancy Birdsall to address the limited number of rigorous impact evaluation of public policies in developing countries. As CGD celebrates its 15th year, it is worth considering what made that working group so successful, the obstacles we confronted, and the work that still remains to be done.

Unexpected evidence on impact evaluations of anti-poverty programmes

The first email that caught my eye this morning as I opened my inbox was Markus Goldstein’s most recent World Bank blog post, “Do impact evaluations tell us anything about reducing poverty?” Having worked in this field for four years, I too have been thinking that we were in the business of fighting poverty, and like him, I expected that impact evaluations, especially impact evaluations of anti-poverty programmes, would tell us whether we are reaching the poor and helping

How 3ie is tackling the challenges of producing high-quality policy-relevant systematic reviews in international development

At its annual colloquium being held in Hyderabad, India, the Cochrane Collaboration is focusing on evidence on the global burden of disease of mostly treatable illnesses that are concentrated among populations living in low- and middle-income countries (L&MICs).  We already have a lot of systematic review evidence about what works to prevent and treat them.  Yet they remain prevalent due to the lack of resources, implementation capacity and population attitudes.

Making impact evidence matter for people’s welfare

The plenary session at the Making Impact Evaluation Matter conference in Manila made clear that impact evidence – in the form of single evaluations and syntheses of rigorous evidence – do indeed matter. Two key themes were (1) strong evidence about the causal effects of programmes and policies matter to making decisions that improve the welfare of people living in low- and middle-income countries and (2) that, to make impact evaluation matter more, we need to continue to make efforts to build capacity to generate, understand, and use such evidence in those same countries.