Value of Participatory Impact Assessment and Learning Approach (PIALA) in impact evaluation: lessons from Ghana and Vietnam

Speaker: Adinda Van Hemelrijck, IDS and Irene Guijt, Oxfam Great Britain
Discussant: Clare Chandler, LSHTM 
Date: 17 February, 2016 - 17:00 to 18:30
Venue: LIDC Upper Meeting Room

The past ten years have seen a surge in interest and investment in impact evaluation in development. Bulletproof numbers must justify programme investments at scale, while credible explanations of observed changes are essential to influence national policy and local responsibility for greater impact. Programmes with big investments, however, are growing more complex and political. Interventions are less standardized, stakeholders more diverse, influences more dense, problems more intertwined and systemic, solutions less straightforward, changes emergent and less predictable. Additionally, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are adding demands for greater inclusiveness and sustainability to those of effectiveness, forcing a rethink of impact evaluation.

In this seminar, Adinda Van Hemelrijck and Irene Guijt will present their findings regarding how impact evaluation can live up to standards broader than statistical rigour in ways that address challenges of complexity and enable stakeholders to engage meaningfully. Their findings build on their work with IFAD and the BMGF to develop a Participatory Impact Assessment & Learning Approach (PIALA) that can meet standards of rigour, inclusiveness and feasibility.

PIALA draws on five important design elements: a systemic Theory of Change (ToC) approach, multi-stage sampling centred on ‘open systems’, participatory mixed-methods, participatory sensemaking, and configurational analysis. The approach was piloted in two IFADfinanced government programmes in Vietnam and Ghana. Trade-offs occur in every impact evaluation aiming to produce greater value and meet different needs of learning, reporting and advocacy. The PIALA pilots show that these can be reduced and turned into win-wins by thinking out of the mainstream box and building sufficient research and learning capacity.

Download presentation (3.3 MB)

Listen podcast

Scroll to Top