Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation understands that rigorous evaluation is crucial for achieving the goals of the foundation and its partners. Rigorous evaluation allows for better decision-making, improved programmes and new innovations. The Gates Foundation has been a leader in the field of development impact evaluation, working with 3ie and other partners to fund impact evaluations and to disseminate results. Within its diverse programme areas, the foundation maintains a strong evaluation policy rooted in its core values of collaboration, rigour, innovation and optimism. It works with grantees from the very beginning of the proposal process to define measurable outcomes and ensure that learning happens through the duration of each project.

Member since: 2008 | Country: United States | website

Commitment to evaluation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation understands that rigorous evaluation is crucial for achieving the goals of the foundation and its partners. Rigorous evaluation allows for better decision-making, improved programmes and new innovations. The Gates Foundation has been a leader in the field of development impact evaluation, working with 3ie and other partners to fund impact evaluations and to disseminate results. Within its diverse programme areas, the foundation maintains a strong evaluation policy rooted in its core values of collaboration, rigour, innovation and optimism. It works with grantees from the very beginning of the proposal process to define measurable outcomes and ensure that learning happens through the duration of each project.

Overview of engagement

The Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation supported the Evaluation Gap Working Group hosted by the Center for Global Development. This group produced the report When Will We Ever Learn: Improving Lives through Impact Evaluation that made the case for the creation of an independent organisation to build the supply and quality of development impact evaluations. Based on this recommendation, the Gates Foundation helped to found 3ie in 2008.

The Gates Foundation remains one of 3ie’s core funders and is an active member of 3ie. The foundation has been a particularly strong supporter of our work in the public health sector, providing funding and guidance for four thematic windows on health-related topics.

Examples of 3ie engagement

  • 3ie governance: Amy Pennington, program officer, Measurement, Learning and Evaluation at the Gates Foundation, served on the organising committee for 3ie’s 2015 members conference. The foundation also provided the non-governmental constituency representative on 3ie’s Board of Commissioners for over three years.
  • Programme sponsorship: The Gates Foundation has provided funding for two thematic windows related to HIV prevention and one thematic window on the Integration of HIV Services. The foundation also provided guidance on the evaluation questions and design for each of these windows.
  • Professional services: The Gates Foundation contracted 3ie to provide quality assurance services and grants management support to two large impact evaluations of combination prevention trials for the reduction in HIV incidence in Africa. The studies were commissioned by the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and are receiving supplemental funding from the Gates Foundation through 3ie.
  • Programme sponsorship: The Gates Foundation was part of a group of funders who provided funding for 3ie’s sixth call for systematic reviews focusing on agriculture, food security and climate change.
  • Programme sponsorship: The Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development provided funding for 3ie’s Agricultural Innovation Thematic Window. This window, conducted in partnership with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), funds new impact evaluations of IFAD and AGRA interventions in the areas of adoption of innovative technologies, contractual arrangements, knowledge transfer and soil health.
  • Programme sponsorship: The Gates Foundation has provided funding for Breaking through stagnation: testing innovative approaches to engaging communities in increasing immunisation coverage, a thematic window launched in 2014.
  • 3ie services: 3ie former deputy director Annette Brown and former 3ie executive director, Howard White made several presentations to Gates Foundation staff on a variety of topics, including introduction to impact evaluation, impact evaluation for voluntary medical male circumcision innovations and introduction to evidence gap maps.
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