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December 2017   Making evidence matter
Evidence uptake and use from 3ie-funded studies
Mapping the evidence base to inform strategic decision making to improve governance and build inclusive societies: The role of the state, effectiveness of its institutions and its legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens are central to determining a country’s prospects for stability and development. The SDGs underscore the critical importance of the state-society relationship to global development. 3ie produced an evidence gap map that consolidates evidence on the effect of interventions to improve state-society relations in low- and middle-income countries. Findings from 3ie’s evidence gap map report have been included in the annotated bibliography of a rapid review by DFID’s Knowledge for Development (K4D) programme (a dedicated knowledge service to respond to information requests from DFID staff). 3ie’s report highlights the lack of evidence in certain areas, and the limited number of syntheses of impact evaluations on transparency, effectiveness and inclusivity of political and electoral institutions and processes. This annotated bibliography will inform their governance and evidence-informed strategic decision-making.
New 3ie publications
Evidence gap map briefs: Mapping the evidence on social, behavioural and community engagement for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Impact evaluation brief: Improving maternal and child health in India and Household and economy-wide impacts of a public works programme in Ethiopia

Replication brief: Replicating influential HIV impact studies: lessons learned and next steps

Replication papers: Cash transfers and HIV/HSV-2 prevalence: a replication of a cluster randomized trial in Malawi and Stretching HIV treatment: A replication study of task shifting in South Africa

Peer-reviewed publications of 3ie-funded studies
Click here to access a list of the recent peer-reviewed publications of 3ie-funded research.
3ie London Evidence Week 2017
3ie hosted a series of events in London from 6-10 November. At our monthly 3ie-LIDC seminar, we launched a new evidence gap map on social, behavioural and community engagement interventions related to reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. WHO and 3ie collaborated, with support from the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and others, to produce this map. We also launched a brief that combines the findings from this map, with related findings from our map and report on adolescent sexual and reproductive health. We also co-organised a workshop with Bond on systematic reviews in the humanitarian sector. In addition, we organised a one-day conference, highlights from which we present next section. .

Highlights from our conference, Evidence that matters for vulnerable and marginalised people
More than 120 people representing donors, implementing partners, grantees and evaluation and development experts participated.

Fourth Howard White Lecture: Rigged or rigorous? Researcher-practitioner partnerships to evaluate the impact of complex social interventions
Professor Charlotte Watts, chief scientific adviser, DFID, talked about the growing demand for robust evidence that addresses complex social phenomena, in particular, violence against women and girls. She shared some lessons from a 3ie-funded randomised evaluation of SASA!, a community-based intervention to reduce gender-based violence in Kampala. She highlighted several instances where a strong partnership between the evaluation researchers and the implementers helped overcome barriers and was instrumental to the success of the programme. While researchers bring the academic and technical skills, the practitioners know the local context, enjoy the community’s trust and have the position and knowledge to affect implementation. She emphasised that partnerships work, when you have shared commitment and values, open communication and well-articulated and regularly updated schedules for research and dissemination. Click on the video to listen to her full lecture. We will publish a print version in early 2018.

Promoting systematic review evidence in decision-making


Beryl Leach, director and head of 3ie’s policy, advocacy and communication, facilitated a discussion on promoting systematic review evidence in decision-making. Kerry Albright (UNICEF Innocenti) said that UNICEF was now looking to re-position themselves as an evidence broker for children. With evidence being a key driver of change in UNICEF’s new strategic plan, the focus is on institutionalising interest in evidence. For this, UNICEF has collaborated with 3ie and Campbell Collaboration on various projects. Mairie MacRae (International Rescue Committee) explained how they draw on evidence mapping, systematic reviews and impact evaluations in formulating programming using their Outcomes and Evidence Framework. Vidya Rangan (ISEAL Alliance) shared her experience using evidence synthesis, and how it is particularly well suited to speaking about effectiveness of interventions at the systems level – more than single studies are able to do. Nathanael Bevan (DFID Evidence to Action team), described how DFID has learned that evidence use needs to be approached as a systems change, not just changing the behaviour of individuals by building their capacity or access to evidence.

Community-driven development: Using synthesised evidence to tell us what works for whom, why and how

Howard White (Campbell Collaboration) and Radhika Menon (3ie) described findings from an upcoming community-driven development (CDD) report on the effectiveness and impact of community-driven programmes. The report focuses on programmes where members are in charge of selecting, implementing and maintaining externally funded projects. White discussed the theory of change, study design and outcomes. Menon talked about the gaps in evidence, particularly, on how targeting of CDD programmes benefits the poor and marginalised. Wale Osofisan, (IRC UK), referred to the importance of looking at the macro picture for evaluating any programme. He suggested including political economy analysis and network analysis, which will go a long way in better understanding the context. Oumoul Ba Tall (Mauritania’s national evaluation association and 3ie board commissioner), chaired the session.


Reaching vulnerable and marginalised populations in WASH and agriculture sectors

Panellists shared various challenges in evaluating WASH and agriculture programmes. Annemie Maertens (University of Sussex) shared early results from an ongoing 3ie-funded study on Malawi’s anchor farms. Agricultural extension can play a crucial role in relieving farmers’ information constraints and encourage adoption of improved agricultural technologies, thereby potentially increasing yields and income. Sriharini Narayanan (IIHS, Chennai) recommended segmenting target beneficiaries by age and sex in WASH programmes and policies focused on incorporating the life cycle approach. Daniel Philips (NatCen Social Research) referenced a recent 3ie-funded systematic review on agricultural input subsidies, sharing the challenges in improving productivity, farm income, consumer welfare and wider growth in low- and lower-middle-income countries. The review did not have any evidence on the cost effectiveness of input subsidies with respect to the alternatives. The only evidence on impact was on short term, not long-term impact.

Centre for Excellence in Development Impact and Learning: selected papers

The Centre of Excellence for Development Impact and Learning (CEDIL) is an academic consortium initiative supported by UK Aid through DFID. 3ie is a member of the intellectual leadership team, which includes Campbell Collaboration, Centre for the Evaluation of Development Policies, EPPI-Centre and LSHTM. Howard White (research director and chair, CEDIL steering group) explained how CEDIL will introduce new methodologies and, how it is pushing the boundaries on impact evaluations. Sandy Oliver (EPPI-Centre) talked about various approaches to evidence synthesis. James Hargreaves (LSHTM) outlined the methodological gaps in evaluation in international development. CEDIL is focusing on four gaps: in practice, methods, synthesis, and translation. He pointed out that acquiring generalisable knowledge is the biggest challenge in evaluation. Edoardo Masset (CEDIL) moderated the session.


Closing remarks:, Impact evaluation, the moral core and implications for ethical practice

Ruth Levine, chair, 3ie Board of Commissioners and director of the Hewlett Foundation’s Global Development and Population Program, spoke about the moral case for evidence in policymaking, focusing on impact evaluation. She called on evidence enthusiasts to ensure that the way they conduct and use impact evaluations reflects a larger moral aspiration toward truth, distributive justice, and human progress. Pointing out that research should not be extractive, she said we should give more importance to well-being than methodological differences in impact evaluations.
New knowledge videos
Video lecture series: Why meta-analysis is policy-relevant

Hugh Waddington (3ie) explains why meta-analysis is one of the most appropriate methods for decision makers to use in policymaking. Using examples from 3ie studies on micro-credit and land reform programmes, Hugh explains how meta-analysis can help investigate a wide variety of questions can be investigated, as long as there is a reasonable body of primary research studies.





How-to video on building a theory of change for impact evaluations, Spanish version

3ie is expanding knowledge resources by translating some of our how-to videos in other languages. In this video, Diana Lopez Avila (3ie) illustrates the major steps involved in building a theory of change for an impact evaluation.

You can watch more videos on our YouTube channel.

Job opportunities at 3ie
Data analyst, 3ie, Washington, DC Deadline: 20 December
Research associate, 3ie, New Delhi Deadline: 31 December
Consultant, author for synthesis paper, 3ie applications accepted on a rolling basis.
Click here to view more job opportunities in other organisations

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3ie is an international grant-making NGO promoting evidence-informed development policies and programmes. We are the global leader in funding and producing high-quality evidence of what works, how, why and at what cost. We believe that better and policy-relevant evidence will make development more effective and improve people’s lives.

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