At the core of our work, impact evaluations are rigorous studies that measure the effects of international development programmes. We focus on conducting impact evaluations on policy-relevant research questions where credible findings can drive decision-making.
3ie invented evidence gap maps, which provide a visual overview of existing and ongoing studies or reviews in a sector or sub-sector of international development. These maps help policymakers find the most relevant evidence for a given question, thereby improving decision-making.
Our synthesis products, including systematic reviews, integrate findings from multiple different studies which address a common research question. Because they look systematically across the evidence base to see what works and why, systematic reviews and other synthesis products are more reliable for decision-making than results from a single study used in an ad hoc way.
Often, policy decisions must be made quickly. To make sure that decision-makers get the evidence they need when they need it, 3ie has developed a set of helpdesk services and rapid evidence products. Our Rapid Response Briefs and Rapid Evidence Assessments draw from the latest high-quality research to answer policy questions in a fraction of the time of traditional evaluations or systematic reviews.
We work with governments and other organizations to build their capacities in evaluation and evidence-informed decision-making. In addition to providing trainings on a wide range of evaluation methods, we offer ongoing support services to ensure our partners have access to the most up-to-date evidence and evaluation tools.
3ie specialises in increasing access to, demand for and use of evidence by governments, parliaments, programme managers, civil society, programme participants and the media. We do this by emphasising the value of planning and engaging with stakeholders to ensure that evaluations and reviews are relevant and useful. We use robust and effective monitoring to measure evidence use so that we can convey evidence impact on programmes and policies with greater confidence.
Since 3ie was founded, transparency, reproducibility, and ethics (TRE) have been core considerations in our work. We have developed and refined tools and best practices to ensure our studies apply technically rigorous methodologies, transparently share design and analysis decisions, yield computationally reproducible analysis, and incorporate foundational principles of research ethics into design, implementation, and dissemination. 3ie’s Transparency, Reproducibility, and Ethics (TRE) Policy articulates this commitment to TRE best practices.
3ie’s Development Evidence Portal is the largest-of-its-kind repository of rigorous evidence on what works in international development. This portal includes evaluations and synthesis of studies conducted in low-and middle-income countries. It combines records from 3ie’s Impact Evaluation and Systematic Review repositories, as well as, evidence gap maps.
These provide a visual display of completed and ongoing systematic reviews and impact evaluations in a sector or sub-sector, structured around a framework of interventions and outcomes.
Evidence impact summaries briefly describe how 3ie-supported evidence has informed and influenced decision makers. Each summary highlights verified instances of evidence impact.
We provide funding for replications, conduct in-house replication research and publish guidance on replication methodology. We also provide funding to original authors of 3ie-funded for preparing their raw datasets.
As part of our mandate as a knowledge producer and translator for our main audiences, we publish a range of knowledge products. These include briefs, impact evaluation reports, systematic review reports and summaries, replication papers, evidence gap map reports, scoping reports and working papers.
3ie’s Registry for International Development Impact Evaluations (RIDIE) aims to enhance the transparency and quality of impact evaluation research before it begins.
3ie’s evidence programmes support studies to fill critical knowledge gaps in a sector, sub-sector or in an area with limited rigorous evidence. We fund studies under a specific theme or which address a particular question or set of questions in programme areas where our donors want to expand global public knowledge of what works and what does not.
To help address gaps in the understanding of what works and what does not, we fund a variety of studies across this programme area, including interventions focused on insurance, extension, land-use and forestry, and innovation and technology.
3ie supports impact evaluations, systematic reviews and evidence gap maps on education effectiveness that help answer the questions of what works, for whom, why and at what cost.
We fund the production of rigorous evidence on biodiversity and forest conservation programmes, environmental regulations, impact of sustainable fuels, climate change mitigation and adaptation.
3ie is supporting the generation of evidence in areas such as transparency and accountability in natural resource governance. We also fund the production of rigorous evidence on interventions to curb corruption, judicial and civil service reforms, land reforms, public financial management, conflict prevention and peacebuilding, decentralised governance and public service delivery.
We fund the production of rigorous evidence on interventions on HIV and AIDS, immunisation maternal and child health, nutrition and sexual and reproductive health through a number of evidence programmes. Evidence products from these programmes include replication studies, evidence gap maps, systematic reviews and impact evaluations.
We are supporting the generation of rigorous evidence in humanitarian contexts on interventions related to water, sanitation and hygiene, food security, multi-sectoral humanitarian programming and interventions targeting malnutrition.
We fund the production of rigorous evidence on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of public transportation by rail, bus and rapid transit systems, and essential services such as electricity and gas to expand access, foster inclusive growth, and combat climate change through sustainable systems.
In alignment with our mission, 3ie promotes rigorous, efficient, and ethical use of innovative data sources for impact evaluations, including in those conducted by 3ie, by 3ie research partners, and in the global development community more broadly.
3ie, in collaboration with India’s rural development ministry is working to generate rigorous evidence on the impact of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission.
Fragility has expensive, long-term consequences and trying to build peace in situations of protracted conflicts is becoming the norm. In 2016, 1.8 billion people – nearly a quarter of the world's population – were living in situations of fragility. Social cohesion is widely considered important in building sustainable peace in fragile contexts.
We support policy-relevant studies that contribute to improving our understanding of public expenditure trends and improving the delivery of public goods.
We support impact evaluations to build the evidence base on the effectiveness of interventions that reduce the risks faced by the poor through participation in public works and employment programmes.
3ie’s has two major evidence programmes that support the generation and use of high-quality evidence for informing decision-making in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector
We set up our Replication Programme to address the need for a freely available global public good that helps improve the quality and reliability of impact evaluation evidence used for development decision-making. Replication is the most established method of research validation in science, yet it has not been fully embraced by the research community or development donors, leading to this gap.
3ie produces research – whether in-house or through grants or contracts – that clearly and precisely documents the data and methods used in the analysis and the materials used to conduct the study. We have experienced and highly skilled staff ready to support the transparent production of evaluations, systematic reviews, and other knowledge products. .
The Saamuhika Shakti or Collective Impact initiative aims to improve the lives of waste pickers in Bengaluru, in India’s southern state of Karnataka, through a coordinated multi-sectoral approach.
We work with various departments in the Philippines government to develop and fund rigorous evidence useful for policymakers. We also support capacity-building activities for Philippine researchers and support the impact evaluation management framework of the National Economic and Development Authority.
Working in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister, the primary aim is to improve developmental outcomes through evidence-informed decision making in Uganda. 3ie is currently supporting evaluation of government programmes around youth livelihood, family planning, public service delivery and local governance, and universal primary education.
3ie and the government of Benin are working on a a multi-year regional initiative that aims to promote the institutionalization of evaluation in government systems across eight countries in West Africa, including: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
This is a five-year programme (2019-23) that is working on increasing the use of evidence by policymakers in Ghana, Pakistan and Uganda. In partnership with country governments, this programme aims to develop capacity and promote innovation in increasing evidence-informed decision-making. SEDI is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
View our current funding opportunities for evaluations, systematic reviews and internal replication studies.
3ie evidence programme: Agricultural Insurance Evidence Programme
Author(s): Suraj Nair, Ajaykumar Tannirkulam, Divya Mary
Institutional affiliation(s): Institute for Financial Management and Research- Leveraging Evidence for Access and Development (IFMR LEAD)
Grant-holding institution: IFMR LEAD
Main implementing agency: IFMR LEAD
Sex disaggregation: Yes
Gender analysis: No
Equity focus: Yes
Study type: Formative evaluation
The selected study location for this evaluation is Mahisagar district in north-central Gujarat. The district was chosen due to its high livestock density, availability of pastureland for grazing and low penetration of non-loan-linked livestock insurance. Overall, the district ranks low on socio-economic indicators such as literacy, and has a high number of residents who fall into the scheduled tribe category. The predominant economic activities revolve around agriculture (paddy, maize) and animal husbandry (mainly dairy). The district has around 70 per cent landholdings owned by small and marginal farmers, the average size of holding is two hectares (NABARD, PLP 2016–17). In the recent past, the district has suffered from erratic monsoons, long dry spells in rainy seasons. The study population broadly comprises low-income cattle owning households.
The intervention was an app-based platform that digitises the livestock (cattle) insurance in-field enrolment process and claims process. The app reduces turnaround time, cost and enhances scalability by reducing the time taken by claims process from 15-20 days, to just two to three days. This insurance scheme was complemented with a mandli-level (community-level cooperative societies focused on aggregating milk) engagement and door-to-door marketing
Selected villages were randomly assigned to three treatment arms:
T1. App-based livestock insurance scheme with lower premium rates;
T2. App-based livestock insurance scheme with standard premium rates;
C. Manual enrollment and claims verification.
Mandli-level and marketing strategies were implemented across all three arms, but varied across famers in order to understand the importance given to product features while considering take-up. Five villages randomly assigned to T1 received additional marketing information outlining details about the app-based scheme and related benefits. The remaining 5 villages in T1 received regular details about the insurance policy.
Additionally, 8–10 farmers were also purposively selected for focus group discussions to ensure inclusion of as many small farmers as possible Inclusion criteria included having at least four adult cattle and incomes under four lakhs.