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, transparent, reproducible and ethical evidence (TREE) 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 transparent, reproducible and ethical evidence (TREE) 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.
Improving adolescent sexual and reproductive health requires decision-makers to have evidence on what works or not, for whom and why, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (L&MIC).
Despite the availability of agricultural technologies, few smallholder farmers in developing economies adopt new inputs and practices. One of the factors preventing this is the lack of effective knowledge dissemination.
Agriculture is a major source of sustenance for rural populations in low- and middle income countries. But owing to weather, pests, diseases and price fluctuations, farmers face numerous risks, including crop and livestock losses.
The production and consumption of fish, a nutritious source of food for around one billion people, is rising globally. The bulk of aquaculture still originates from small-scale farming in developing countries, such as Bangladesh.
According to the United Nations estimates, 103 million youth worldwide lack basic literacy skills, and more than 60 per cent of them are women.
3ie is working with USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG Center), and NORC at the University of Chicago to increase knowledge on the global advancement of democracy, human rights and governance.
South Asia, home to 600 million children, has the highest number of young people globally. While these youth contribute to the social and economic stability and prosperity of their families, communities and countries, they face several threats to their health, education and protection, including pressures to drop out of education, become child workers, marry and reproduce early.
3ie projects and programs are uncovering ways to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. Our cross-cutting work seeks to inform what makes development interventions gender-sensitive and transformative in low- and middle-income countries, including challenging fragile contexts.
3ie, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is supporting studies and other work on HIV combination prevention to maximize the useful knowledge and policy implications from these interventions.
To gain a better understanding of whether providing HIV self-tests to people would increase HIV testing rates, and who might benefit most from availability of tests, 3ie funded seven pilot interventions and their impact evaluations in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.
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 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.
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.
A major challenge in the fight against vaccine-preventable deaths and diseases is the limited evidence available on innovative and successful community-based approaches for expanding immunization coverage in countries with low or stagnating vaccination rates.
Much of the evidence surrounding the integration of HIV services with maternal, neonatal, and child health services, as well as with sexual and reproductive health and family planning services, does not come from rigorous studies.
Widespread hunger, malnutrition, and water insecurity have devastating and long-lasting impacts on the health and well-being of millions of people around the globe.
3ie, the World Health Organization and the Partnership for Maternal Newborn & Child Health worked together to create a gap map to assess the evidence available on social, behavioural and community engagement interventions related to reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health programs in low and middle-income countries.
Everyone needs reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. However, all too often, this need is not fulfilled. Despite best efforts, significant gaps persist between global nutrition targets and actual achievements.
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.
Safe sanitation is a key determinant of many public health outcomes and ending open defecation is necessary in order to achieve safe sanitation. To this end, the Indian government has led a massive sanitation program, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan - Gramin, to improve latrine access and use.
Launched in 2011, the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) aims to link the rural poor in India to sustainable livelihood opportunities and financial services.
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.
The natural resource governance sector is under-researched and programs in it are under-evaluated. 3ie supported seven impact evaluations to fill critical knowledge gaps on what works to improve governance in the extractives sector in low- and middle-income countries.
3ie champions the research transparency and reproducibility movement as a means of understanding and mitigating challenges to the credibility of social science research, while also working toward stronger integration of ethical principles into practice.
3ie, in partnership with the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), developed this program to build the evidence base in L&MICs and to support global efforts towards increasing equitable access to and use of WASH services.
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, in partnership with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), is working to strengthen evidence use in MCC’s program designs and investment decisions. 3ie will support MCC to ensure their economic modelling, project design and evaluation approaches are at the cutting edge of development science while simultaneously building a repository of learning that benefits other policymakers and funders.
India has one of the lowest female labor force participation rates in South Asia. Among rural women, less than 30 per cent are engaged in productive work, paid or unpaid.
It is widely recognized that preventive measures are crucial in tackling the HIV epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa. Three randomized controlled trials and numerous observational studies have shown that male circumcision reduces HIV acquisition by approximately 60 per cent for men, suggesting that efforts to increase male circumcision can play a significant role in HIV prevention.
3ie, in partnership with the Philippines National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is implementing a multi-year Philippines Evidence Program (also known as Policy Window Philippines).
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.
The natural resource extractives sector is under-researched, and programmes in it are under-evaluated. 3ie supports seven impact evaluations that will help fill critical knowledge gaps on what works to improve governance in the extractives sector in low- and middle-income countries. Each of them is testing interventions that improve outcomes by providing relevant information to citizens through deliberative forums and online platforms.
3ie, in partnership with the Uganda Office of the Prime Minister (OPM Uganda), is implementing a multi-year programme to strengthen the production and use of evaluation evidence with selected ministries. The Ugandan government has identified key development issues in which quality evidence about programme effectiveness is lacking. 3ie is supporting a range of evaluations to help fill those evidence gaps. Moreover, 3ie is working with the ministries to strengthen evidence use in their work. OPM Uganda is a member of 3ie, and we have been working with them for many years to build a culture of evidence use and strengthen the national monitoring and evaluation system.
Over 24 million people in the African Sahel need emergency food assistance as the nutrition and food security situation continues to deteriorate. Watch this short animated film on the findings from the 3ie working paper to understand what works to improve malnutrition in the region.
Acute malnutrition in the Sahel region affects an estimated 6 million children under the age of 5, of whom approximately 1.4 million require treatment for severe acute malnutrition. 3ie’s new report synthesises the findings and lessons from 3ie-supported impact evaluations of World Food Programme’s interventions to improve nutrition and food security outcomes in Chad, Mali, Niger and Sudan. It offers new, rigorous evidence on the interrelationship between programmes for preventing and treating malnutrition in emergency and post-emergency contexts. ? Read the synthesis report: http://bit.ly/3ieWFPSahel
The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) carried out a synthesis study to assess how CDD programmes have evolved over the years and what their impact has been. The authors synthesised evidence from 25 impact evaluations, covering 23 programmes in 21 low- and middle-income countries. They also drew on process evaluations and qualitative research to examine the factors influencing success and failure.
Agricultural extension can play a crucial role in relieving farmers’ information constraints and encourage adoption of improved agricultural technologies, thereby potentially increasing yields and income. Promoting cost-effective agricultural extension systems is especially important in developing country economies that are highly dependent on agriculture. Agricultural extension systems tend to rely primarily on two models for disseminating information about new technologies: farmer field days and farmer-led demonstration plots. In this interview, 3ie grantee Annemie Maertens talks about early findings from a 3ie-funded impact evaluation in Malawi on the effects of these two primary models on farmer learning and adoption of integrated soil fertility management practices. Annemie Maertens is an agricultural economist and studies poverty in rural communities.
Hugh Waddington, senior evaluation specialist at 3ie, provides an overview of the state of evidence in the WASH sector. Watch this short video to understand what evidence exists, where are the important gaps and how 3ie in partnership with other organisations is working to make a meaningful contribution to evaluation and evidence in the WASH sector.
Simrin Makhija is working on a impact evaluation of a soil fertility training programme in the Volta region of Ghana. This study evaluated the impact of the scale-up of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) practices in Ghana on changes in awareness, learning, uptake, adoption, productivity and welfare of farmers.
In this interview with 3ie, Olivier Cossee, senior evaluation officer at FAO discussed some key questions pertaining to impact evaluations of agricultural programs. He also stresses the importance of qualitative research and policy relevance of impact evaluations.
Juan Bonilla, senior researcher at American Institutes of Research talks about a 3ie-funded impact evaluation of small dairy commercialisation programme in Kenya. This programme was funded by IFAD under the rural development projects.
3ie organized its first education policy dialogue event in Uganda, on the sidelines of the AfrEA conference on 28 March 2017. This day-long event which we co-hosted with the office of the prime minister (OPM), Uganda. Thirty people participated in the event which included a significant number from Uganda’s ministry of education and sports, the office of the prime minister, and a few from the World Bank, RTI-USAID, Uganda National Teachers Union, UNICEF, Measure Africa and Twaweza.
Adolescence (10–19 years old) is a critical period in life, during which people undergo extensive biological, psychological and social changes. During this time, sexual and reproductive health can pose serious challenges for adolescents and programming needs to be effective in addressing this important health area. This video discusses the state of evidence around adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH), exploring the supply of and demand for evidence on the impact of ASRH programming in low- and middle-income countries.
3ie interviewed Shantanu Pramanik, principal investigator for the new 3ie-funded impact evaluation of the SALT (Stimulate, Appreciate, Learn, and Transfer) project. In this video, he explains why the impact evaluation of the SALT- an approach of community engagement to increase immunization coverage through ownership - a mixed-methods study in Assam, India- is important for generating evidence on community engagement to increase immunization coverage.
How can impact evaluations test innovative ideas to increase demand generation for voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC)? We highlight one 3ie-funded study in South Africa that used financial incentives with compelling results.
Transferable skills, often referred to as soft, non-cognitive or life skills, provide youth with the tools and confidence to succeed in term of employment, health and personal well-being. 3ie has developed an evidence gap map (EGM) of impact evaluations of youth and transferable skills interventions in low- and middle-income countries. This video provides a brief description of the evidence gap map and shows how donors and other stakeholders can use its findings in their work.
Transferable skills, often referred to as soft, non-cognitive or life skills, provide youth with the tools and confidence to succeed in term of employment, health and personal well-being. 3ie hosted a roundtable for experts involved in transferable skills research and interventions in low- and middle-income countries to facilitate the setting of an agenda for future innovation and research. Participants shared research and experiences from their work in the field and provided feedback on 3ie’s evidence gap map on youth and transferable skills. This video presents some of the main highlights from presentations throughout the two-day event and key takeaways that stakeholders will use to enhance their work.