Latest blogs

Strengthening impact evaluation ecosystems by supporting local research teams

Building a culture of evidence is a tall order, one that demands the engagement of different stakeholders committed to evidence-informed policy. While we embed capacity-building activities in our grant programmes, we continue to explore alternative approaches beyond our grants to increase local researchers’ familiarity with impact evaluation, so the pool of research centers able to provide impact evaluation services in a given country expands.

Reflections on the impact of agricultural certification on well-being

Carlos Oya and colleagues recently published a systematic review of agricultural certification schemes that stands out for me as useful research for informing policy and programming. Why do I say that? Agricultural certification schemes set and monitor compliance to voluntary standards with the objective of making production socially sustainable and terms of trade fairer for smallholder farmers and workers.

Preparation meets opportunity: how 3ie’s stakeholder engagement paid off on HIV self-testing

The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. What I know is that HIV self-testing has finally made it. At this year’s International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Science there were an array of posters, oral abstract presentations and satellite sessions on research related to HIV self-testing.

How many scientific facts are there about science, technology, and innovation for development?

In a recent blog post, Ronda Zelezny-Green and Alexandra Tyers claim “now scientific fact: mobile money can lift women out of poverty”. The scientific fact they cite comes from a new study [gated] published in Science by Tavneet Suri and William Jack. This study is an impact evaluation of M-PESA in Kenya using a quasi-experimental design, and it finds that increased access to M-PESA is associated with a decrease in poverty.

Not missing the woods for the trees: mapping evidence gaps on land use and forestry programmes

Forest protection is among the most effective approaches we have to mitigate climate change. At the same time, agricultural land and forests provide food, livelihoods and fuel for billions of people globally, particularly in low and middle-income countries (L&MICs). At the same time there are concerns that large-scale forest protection programming will have negative knock-on effects on food security and other aspects of human well-being.

If you want your study included in a systematic review, this is what you should report

Impact evaluation evidence continues to accumulate, and policymakers need to understand the range of evidence, not just individual studies. Across all sectors of international development, systematic reviews and meta-analysis (the statistical analysis used in many systematic reviews) are increasingly used to synthesise the evidence on the effects of programmes.

What did I learn about the demand for impact evaluations at the What Works Global Summit?

At the recently concluded What Works Global Summit (WWGS) which 3ie co-sponsored, a significant number of the sessions featured presentations on new impact evaluations and systematic reviews. WWGS was a perfect opportunity to learn lessons about the demand for and supply of high-quality evidence for decision-making because it brought together a diverse set of stakeholders. There were donors, knowledge intermediaries, policymakers, programme managers, researchers and service providers. They came from both developed as well as developing countries.

Is impact evaluation still on the rise?

Since 2014, 3ie’s impact evaluation repository (IER) has been a comprehensive database of published impact evaluations of development programmes in low- and middle-income countries. We call the database comprehensive because we build it from a systematic search and screening process that covers over 35 indexes and websites and screens for all development programme evaluations or experiments that use a counterfactual method for estimating net impact.

Implementing impact evaluations: trade-offs and compromises

In June this year, 3ie and the International Fund for Agricultural Development organised a workshop where we had several productive discussions around two key questions: Are impact evaluations answering policy-relevant questions and generating useful evidence? What are the challenges faced in designing and implementing impact evaluations of cash transfers and agricultural innovation programmes?

What’s first for replication studies is what’s next for 3ie’s replication programme

Many consider pure replication, where the replication researcher starts with the original data set and writes code to recreate the published results according to the methods described in the publication, to be the second step in replication analysis. So, what is the first?


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.