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Too difficult, too disruptive and too slow? Innovative approaches to common challenges in conducting humanitarian impact evaluations

Over 200 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance across the world today.  In 2017, the UN-coordinated appeals reported a shortfall of 41 per cent, despite receiving a record amount of funding. As the demands on these limited funds increase, there is a concurrent increase in the need for high-quality evidence on the most effective ways to improve humanitarian programming.

Making replication research relevant for international organizations: A 3ie-IFAD post-event conversation

After 6 years, 3ie’s replication programme is finishing its fourth round of 3ie-funded replication studies. In recognition of this round’s completion, 3ie and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) recently hosted a joint engagement event, Financial services for the poor programmes – verifying evidence for policymaking. Ben (3ie) and Michael (IFAD) co-hosted the event. At the event, 3ie’s current replication researchers presented their draft results.

Moving the debate forward on community-driven development

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about (Oscar Wilde). Our recent review of community-driven development (CDD) is certainly being talked about. Sparked off by Duncan Green’s blog on our review, there has been an active debate about CDD on social media.

Learning power lessons: verifying the viability of impact evaluations

Learning from one’s past mistakes is a sign of maturity. Given that metric, 3ie is growing up. We now require pilot research before funding most full impact evaluation studies. Our pilot studies requirement was developed to address a number of issues, including assessing whether there is sufficient intervention uptake, identifying or verifying whether the expected or detectable effect is reasonable and determining the similarity of participants within clusters.

10 years of research transparency: lessons learned

The 1854 London cholera outbreak prompted Dr John Snow’s famous “experiment…on the grandest scale”, widely cited as one of the earliest known natural experiments. By comparing cholera deaths among households that received a supply of contaminated water with those receiving a cleaner supply, Snow sought to test his theory (against prevailing wisdom) that cholera is a waterborne disease. But, what makes this 19th century study particularly remarkable is that it is an early example of research transparency.

Improving child immunisation through technologies for engaging communities: challenges and lessons

A mother with a six-month old girl receives a voice reminder in her local dialect to take her daughter for her next vaccination. She comes to the local health facility where the health worker takes off a small pendant attached with a black thread from the child’s neck, which has an embedded digital microchip. She places it on the tablet, and all the immunisation information related to the child appears on the screen. The health worker finds that second dose of pentavalent vaccine is due. She administers it to the child.

The role of replication in revising WHO guidelines: the case of TB and HIV co-infection

The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on the timing of treatments for Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV co-infection have not been revised since 2011. New research findings suggest that they are due for an update.

Agricultural innovation: where does the evidence lie?

Improving agricultural innovations and technologies in developing countries is of paramount importance to increase agricultural production and income sustainability. Although many agricultural technologies are available, adoption remains low among smallholder farmers.

Third party monitoring in volatile environments – do the benefits outweigh the risks?

Writing on the What Work’s World Bank Group blogsite last July, Lauren Kelly and Marie Gaarder called for a “wide debate” about the important issues raised by the increasing trend of development agencies to use third parties to carry out monitoring, data collection and other work in fragile and conflicted-affected locations too risky for their own staff.

Promoting latrine use in rural India: what does the evidence say?

India is responsible for the majority of the world’s open defecation – a practice that spreads disease and cuts lives short. To address the issue, the Indian government’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM; Clean India Mission), which completes its third year, has been providing toilets, particularly in rural areas where they are most needed.  SBM has also made explicit the importance of behaviour change and getting people to use those toilets.

About

Evidence Matters is 3ie’s blog. It primarily features contributions from staff and board members. Guest blogs are by invitation.

3ie publishes blogs in the form received from the authors. Any errors or omissions are the sole responsibility of the authors. Views expressed are their own and do not represent the opinions of 3ie, its board of commissioners or supporters.

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