Dhanyavaad aur alvida from Manny Jimenez
It seems like only yesterday. But it’s now half a decade since I took over the helm of 3ie. Why has it all gone by so quickly? Science tells us that our brain perceives time going faster as we get older. Well, that has certainly happened to me. But time apparently also goes by more quickly when you’re having fun. The old adage is actually scientifically true! And when I think about it, I’ve had a rollicking good time.
Why have the past 5 years been so much fun? First, it was very exciting to join an organization that accomplished a lot during that time that I was privileged enough to be part of it. Already off to a fantastic start when I came on board, 3ie was able to build on its strong foundation and then delivered on the work that had been initiated, as well as begin other programs. This included over 150 impact evaluations and systematic reviews made available online, dozens of replications, a widely used searchable database of evidence among others.
Second, it was stimulating to be part of an organization that was constantly evolving as it responded to changing needs. For example, 3ie successfully developed earlier innovations like evidence gap maps into a practical implement in the standard evaluation toolkit. And the teams worked hard on the challenge of putting evidence to use. Also, going from a highly successful start-up to a more mature organization was a bit like guiding teenagers into adulthood. Having raised four (now) wonderful children, I knew there would never be a dull moment as 3ie built its institutional systems for managing grants, business development and people management.
Third, I was enthralled at discovering India. Delhi, as I’ve always said, is endlessly fascinating and endlessly challenging. But as a whole, India is just, as the ads say, incredible. I’m grateful for having the opportunity to trek regularly in the Himalayas, to marvel at the magnificent monuments (I’ve managed to see about two thirds of India’s UNESCO world heritage sites), to savor the intense flavors of the cuisine all over the country and to admire its deep and enduring cultures.
Finally, I met many wonderful people who are now lasting colleagues and friends. After being sheltered in the World Bank for three decades, 3ie introduced me to the wider international evaluation community, including donors, practitioners and the decision makers who use evaluation, all over the world. In our country policy engagements, for example, I was energized by my conversations with senior officials who wanted evidence as they innovated to resolve difficult issues such as unclogging the blockages in the justice system or improving their graduating youth’s chances of getting a job.
I am also ever grateful to have worked with fantastic fellow-workers. I learned much from 3ie’s Board commissioners and members, especially Richard Manning and Ruth Levine, my two board chairs. And of course, I owe the most to my fabulous colleagues in the management and staff of 3ie. I applauded heartily when the Board chose one of the latter, Marie Gaarder, to succeed me. I have no doubt that she will take 3ie to even greater heights in the future. As the translation of this blog’s Hindi title says, Thank you and bye to all!
So, it was a hard decision to leave the fun. But I also felt that it was the right time to move to the next stage of my life – for my loved ones as well as myself. I have no doubt that the time going forward will also pass quickly. After all, I will continue to age. But I will also probably continue to have fun.
A Transition at 3ie
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), I offer deep gratitude for the contributions of Dr Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Jimenez during his five-year tenure as the organization’s Executive Director. During Manny’s tenure, 3ie expanded and deepened its work, with a focus on developing programs of evidence-generation in priority thematic areas, grantmaking for high-quality research and policy engagement, and strengthening the capacities of the organization. It was also during this time that 3ie strengthened its work on the use of evidence for decision-making, harvested all development-oriented evaluative work and made it available on its website and enhanced its ties with the broader evaluation community. As he transitions out of the leadership role at 3ie to pursue the next chapter in his life and long career in development, Manny can look back with pride at his many contributions to 3ie, and to advancing the field of evidence-informed policymaking. We wish him all the best, and look forward to future opportunities to collaborate in the years to come.
As Manny transitions, the 3ie Board is delighted to welcome Dr Marie Gaarder as Executive Director. Marie, who was a member of 3ie’s start-up team and more recently served as the organization’s Director of the Evaluation Office and Global Director for Innovation and Country Engagement, has been a key contributor to the field for many years, always focused on the coveted combination of methodological quality and value for decision making. Marie, who has served as a manager within the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group and was director of evaluation at the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, deeply understands 3ie’s mission within the broader research-to-policy ecosystem, and has demonstrated an ability to innovate and lead. She is respected for her technical contributions to the wider field of evaluation and synthesis, and has earned loyalty for her strength as a talented manager who brings a sense of purpose and a clear vision. We expect Marie to be an outstanding new leader for 3ie and are thrilled to work with her during what promises to be an exciting new phase.