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.
3ie’s Development Evidence Portal is the largest-of-its-kind repository of rigorous evidence on what works in international development. This portal includes evaluations and synthesis of studies conducted in low-and middle-income countries. It combines records from 3ie’s Impact Evaluation and Systematic Review repositories, as well as, evidence gap maps.
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.
Evidence impact summaries briefly describe how 3ie-supported evidence has informed and influenced decision makers. Each summary highlights verified instances of evidence impact.
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
In alignment with our mission, 3ie promotes rigorous, efficient, and ethical use of innovative data sources for impact evaluations, including in those conducted by 3ie, by 3ie research partners, and in the global development community more broadly.
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.
View our current funding opportunities for evaluations, systematic reviews and internal replication studies.
In community-driven development (CDD) programmes, community members are in charge of identifying, implementing and maintaining externally funded development projects. CDD programmes have been implemented in low- and middle-income countries to fund the building or rehabilitation of schools, water supply and sanitation systems, health facilities, roads, and other kinds of public infrastructure. They have also been used to finance private cash transfers to individual households.
3ie carried out a synthesis study to assess how CDD programmes have evolved over the years and what their impact has been. The authors synthesised evidence from 25 impact evaluations, covering 23 programmes in 21 low- and middle-income countries. They also drew on process evaluations and qualitative research to examine the factors influencing success and failure.
The impact of CDD programmes
CDD programmes improve facilities for education, health and water. Investments in water-related infrastructure have reduced the time required for collecting water. These programmes slightly improve health- and water-related outcomes, but not education outcomes.
Community participation in CDD programmes
The entire community does not participate in all aspects of project management and implementation. There is a clear funnel of attrition. Many people may be aware of the programme and the community meeting, but few attend the meeting and fewer still speak or participate in decision-making. Women are only half as likely as men to be aware of CDD programmes, even less likely to attend the community meetings and even less likely still to speak at them. Evidence suggests people may have participated in making bricks, not decisions.
CDD programmes may be using existing social cohesion rather than building it. Numerous factors may affect community involvement, such as the role played by the elite or prime movers in the community, intra-community divisions and the perceived benefits of participation.
Participation of marginalised people
Although CDD programmes have included measures to improve the participation of marginalised people, there is no evidence regarding the impact of such measures. There is also no information about how programme implementers facilitated the participation of different ethnic and religious groups living in a community.
Gendered cultural norms and socioeconomic factors can negatively influence women’s participation in the public sphere. Where female participation is a target, not a requirement, women’s participation usually falls short.
Not many studies have carried out sex-disaggregated analysis of participation. Fewer still have assessed whether CDD programmes have empowered women to take a more active role in the public sphere, beyond the scope of the programme.
Follow the conversation about 3ie’s community-driven development report on Twitter using #3ieCDD