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Special feature for World AIDS Day 2012

There has been only a small decline in the prevalence of HIV in the last decade, dropping from 5.9 percent to 5 percent between 2001 and 2009 for those aged 15-49 (UNAIDS, 2010). This decrease, whilst important, does not seem impressive compared to over US$5 billion spent fighting AIDS in low and middle income countries each year (the latest available figure is US$5.1 billion in 2008).

Field notes on implementing impact evaluations

3ie is currently funding 100 impact evaluations in low and middle-income countries spread across Africa, Asia and Latin America. We are now in a unique position to learn a lot about what’s working well in designing and conducting impact evaluations and what can be done better to ensure that research produces reliable and actionable findings.

Early stimulation and micronutrients interventions

Why should we put more money into early childhood development interventions? Does this help children in secondary education? Should we invest in preschool programmes or more in home stimulation or parenting classes? What is most cost-effective?  These are key questions that policymakers are grappling with at a time when early childhood development is emerging as a priority issue for many developing countries.

Can we do small n impact evaluations?

3ie was set up to fill ‘the evaluation gap’, the lack of evidence about ‘what works in development’. Our founding document stated that 3ie will be issues-led, not methods led, seeking the best available method to answer the evaluation question at hand. We have remained true to this vision in that we have already funded close to 100 studies in over 30 countries around the world.

Exercising credibility: why a theory of change matters

The strength of randomized control trials (RCTS), like this study, is their ability to establish causal relationships between the intervention and the outcome. But we need factual analysis of what happened, to help complement the counterfactual analysis of causality. In the case of this study, participants should have been asked to keep food and exercise diaries.

Evaluating the impact of stimulation and micronutrients on early childhood development

The preliminary results and analysis of this study was presented at the Promises for Preschoolers: Early Childhood Development and Human Capital Accumulation conference on 25 June in London. We designed, implemented and tested a programme in Colombia with the explicit aim of offering a blueprint for such a scalable intervention.  We wanted to address these challenges as well as generate data that allowed us to learn in a deeper and more scientific fashion.

Evidence to policy: bridging gaps and reducing divides

Evidence-based policy-making is important but not always straightforward in practice. The complex reality of policy-making processes means that the availability of high quality research is a necessary, but not sufficient, ingredient for evidence informed policy.

Evaluating vocational schools in rural China

Vocational schools are increasingly viewed as an appealing alternative to academic high schools in rural China. In recent years, the Chinese government—at both the local and national levels—has been encouraging students like Kou Yaokang to attend vocational schools. Shaanxi Province has invested US$ 80 million in vocational education in 2010.The central government gives a subsidy of US$ 250 per year for each student enrolled in a vocational school.

Happy Endings for Mozambican Preschoolers

Abandoned by her family and severely malnourished, four-year-old Castera’s story seemed destined for an unhappy ending. But, this is where the plot changes. Taken in by Alda Mate, the strong, determined village chief of Machalucuane, and enrolled in Save the Children’s supported early childhood education program, today Castera is a happy, curious second grader.

African theories of change: lost in translation?

The word ‘evaluation’ has several different meanings in African languages. In the Yoruba language, evaluation is often associated with ‘ayewo’ which means ‘investigation’. The meaning ties in with the cultural concept of evaluation. Many African societies have ‘evaluation’ rooted in their traditions in that they undertake all  kinds of ‘investigations’ before they embark on a major project – farming, marriage, travel, assessment of causes and sources of illness.

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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