Strengthening our leadership team

Dear colleague,

One of my priorities as executive director is to ensure 3ie remains a credible and reliable partner for our many stakeholders working to improve people's lives. One of the key success factors, is the right combination of staff and leadership who can deliver high-quality, timely and relevant evidence for decision-makers, ensure evidence is accessible and used.  I'm proud to lead a team of very talented staff who are committed to achieving 3ie's mission, and excited to announce two new additions to our leadership team.

Neelakshi Mann joined us as Program Director, Asia to oversee our large program of cross-cutting work on gender and livelihoods in the region. Since taking over in March, Neelakshi has been actively engaged with our field teams, funders and policymakers to strengthen relationships and explore new avenues of collaboration. She brings more than 20 years of experience in the development sector with a variety of organizations including IPE Global, with India's rural development ministry, USAID, GIZ, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust, among others.

The common thread running across our discussions with evaluation and development leaders in the past two years – as you will recall – has been strengthening and institutionalizing evidence use. To take this commitment forward and operationalize 3ie’s new Evidence to Policy and Learning unit, Thomas Kelly has joined us to lead 3ie’s agenda to strengthen evidence cultures and to develop practical solutions to facilitate evidence use. Thomas has held senior positions at the Millennium Challenge Corporation providing strategic direction and technical oversight as part of the monitoring and evaluation, economic analysis, and development policy divisions. He has also taught at Middlebury College in addition to the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán and the Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Mexico.  We stand to gain immensely from his rich experience as a researcher and practitioner bringing evidence to bear on efforts to improve development outcomes.

 As I complete my fourth year as executive director of 3ie, I am committed to ensuring that 3ie continues to grow from strength to strength and is well-placed to deliver on our mission to improve people's lives through evidence-informed decision-making. 

To know more about what colleagues at 3ie are currently working on, please follow us at @3ieNews on Twitter and at @3ieimpact on LinkedIn.

Marie Gaarder, Executive Director, 3ie
#3ie15years | Our work and its impact – hear what partners have to say
As part of our endeavour to reflect on our work over the last 15 years, we reached out to some of our long-standing collaborators, who are an invaluable part of our journey, to share their observations on 3ie’s work and how it has contributed to improving the ecosystem of evidence-informed decision-making.

Bård Vegar Solhjell - Director General of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) talks about the significance of our Development Evidence Portal (DEP) – a public good – in promoting learning to help make better decisions. Solhjell says, “to know what interventions work best and how is usually not possible to answer by intuition. Only the work of 3ie, with your Development Evidence Portal, and evidence gap maps, among other resources, has made such questions possible to answer.” 

The DEP is an expansive and growing repository of high-quality impact evaluations, systematic reviews, and evidence gap maps. To ensure continued access to this evidence, we regularly update the portal and maintain it as a free-to-use digital public good. Visit the portal
Preliminary lessons from evaluating agriculture in Niger using remotely-sensed data

Last year, we wrote about how remote sensing has the power to transform and complement traditional approaches to measuring impact of development interventions in low- and middle-income countries. This year, we are excited to share some lessons from using remotely-sensed data to conduct an evaluation of Niger’s Agricultural Production Intensification for Food Security Project which aims to increase irrigated and rain-fed crop production.

Since the intervention areas are remote and hard to survey, the West African Development Bank (BOAD) commissioned 3ie and New Light Technologies to use remotely-sensed data to analyze various program outcomes, including changes in production, water availability, siltation and desertification. Read our latest brief in which we share preliminary lessons from this ongoing evaluation.

3ie and New Light Technologies have in the past co-led a series of capacity-building workshops with researchers from the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) on the potential to use remotely-sensed geospatial data for impact evaluations. Read more about it in this blog.
Policy and institutional reform methods menu – a game changer

Development interventions that address policy and institutional reform (PIR) are particularly challenging, both from a project design and M&E perspective. Traditional project logic models do not adequately account for the complexity in PIR activities. In collaboration with Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), 3ie has created a user tool that provides guidance on evaluation design questions for teams evaluating PIR activities. This user tool is designed to help development evaluators and practitioners choose the right evidence approach(es) for their program phase, context, and needs. 

Register here to join the online launch and discussion on 7 September 2023.
Interested in learning more?
World Humanitarian Day – 19 August

In humanitarian settings, food insecurity remains one of the fundamental concerns. Despite being a significant part of humanitarian assistance efforts, interventions that improve food security outcomes for millions of people living in these situations are not as often evaluated for effectiveness owing to operational, methodological, and ethical issues. However, in recent years the number of impact evaluations emerging from humanitarian emergencies has gone up, demonstrating the success of continuous efforts to overcome the challenges of evidence production. 3ie’s recent evidence gap map of 163 studies in low- and middle-income countries fills a key void in this space by mapping – for the first time ever – available rigorous evidence and the evidence gaps on this topic. It is a resource that aims to support governments and donors to better design and implement their humanitarian assistance efforts. 3ie completed this project as a consortium partner of the Humanitarian Assistance Evidence Cycle (HAEC) Award funded by the USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.

View EGM | view report | view blog

Here’s a recap of our work in this area:
  • In this systematic review, we focused on identifying approaches that can improve women’s status in fragile and conflict-affected settings. The synthesis responds to the evidence gap identified in the Building Peaceful Societies evidence gap map by assessing the effects of a broad range of gender-specific and transformative interventions on women’s empowerment and gender equality in fragile and conflict-affected states and their contribution to building peaceful and inclusive societies. Read the brief and blog.
  • This 3ie-supported impact evaluation on the effects of humanitarian assistance provided to internally-displaced people in DRC was one of three studies awarded the Best of UNICEF Research 2019. It showed that provision of essential household items through vouchers caused substantial improvement in adult mental health and well-being.
Journal Special Issue | Education in Humanitarian Contexts: Evidence from Impact and Process Evaluations

The latest issue of the Journal of Development Effectiveness (JDEFF) focuses on evaluations of the scaling journey of five different education programs operating in humanitarian crises. The authors of the introduction to this special issue provide the research context for these evaluations. They also offer a synthesis of the overarching barriers and facilitators to scaling and a summary of the learning outcomes. Read the introduction.

Articles in this issue:
  1. The effects of booster classes in protracted crisis settings: Evidence from Kenyan refugee camps
  2. Building community engagement and teacher support in education: qualitative findings from process evaluations in two exceptional settings
  3. Can’t Wait to Learn: A quasi-experimental mixed-methods evaluation of a digital game-based learning programme for out-of-school children in Sudan
  4. Employer attitudes towards hiring university-educated refugees: evidence from Rwanda
To submit an article to the journal, please read the guidance here.

3ie will be at Evidence 2023, a three-day conference organized by the Africa Evidence Network (AEN) from 13-15 September in Entebbe, Uganda. The event will see participation from members of civil society, government, academia, and international development organizations. The discussions will push forward the agenda of reducing poverty and inequality in Africa through the support of Evidence-Informed Decision Making (EIDM).

Register now to join in-person or virtually | View full program.

3ie will be hosting two panel sessions at #Evidence2023:

Day 1 | 13 September 2023
Celebrating the Africa Evidence Network: Why relationships matter (SESSION 3)

This high-powered women panel will discuss how essential it is for evidence-informed policymaking experts to form alliances. This panel will focus on understanding the engagement strategies of influential policy actors, and how strategically established networks with a diverse group of policy actors can help effectively frame and communicate evidence.
  • Siziwe Ngcwabe, Director and Co-Chair, Africa Evidence Network (Chair)
  • Marie Gaarder, Executive Director, 3ie
  • Rossetti Nayanga, CEO of AfrEA
  • Ruth Steward, Founding Chairperson, AEN and Honorary Professor, UCL.
  • Rhona Mijumbi-Deve, Head, Policy Unit, Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Program and Co-Chair, AEN

Institutionalizing evidence use: sharing lessons and future directions (SESSION 5)

To achieve widespread and sustainable use of evidence there is a need to institutionalize evidence use by addressing systemic barriers through structures and processes that facilitate and encourage a culture of evidence use. This panel will bring together researchers, knowledge brokers, and decision-makers dedicated to closing the gap between evidence and decision-making with the goal of identifying emerging lessons and directions for an evidence-informed approach to institutionalizing evidence use.
  • Marie Gaarder, Executive Director, 3ie (Chair)
  • Candice Morkel, Director, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results - Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA)
  • Tanja Kuchenmuller, Unit Head, Evidence to Policy and Impact, Research for Health Department, Science Division, World Health Organization  
  • Mr Godfrey Mashamba, Deputy Director General for Planning and M&E, Department for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, South Africa.
  • Rose N. Oronje, Director of Public Policy and Knowledge Translation, and Head of Kenya Office, African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP)
  • Rhona Mijumbi, Head of the Policy Unit at the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Programme (MLW)
Day 2 | 14 September 2023
The Localisation Agenda Part A and B (SESSIONS 9 and 11)

This panel will aim to bring together key funders and EIDM practitioners from the South to discuss and share perspectives of how to advance the 'localisation' agenda and ensure substantive southern ownership. This session aims to unpack he challenges and possible solutions in the localisation agenda through debate with both funders and LMIC organisations.
  • Birte Sniltsveit, Director – Synthesis and Reviews and Head of London office, 3ie (co-chair)
  • Harsha Dayal, Director of Research & Knowledge Management, Department of Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation, South Africa (co-chair)
  • Sajilu Kamwenda, Mastercard Foundation
  • Chris Chibwana, Hewlett Foundation
Evidence on Demand: What makes evidence services responsive to policy needs (SESSION 15)

This panel will showcase the potential of Responsive Evidence Services (RES) (including help desks) as an effective mechanism to support policymakers’ evidence use. It will feature three embedded pairs of providers and users of responsive evidence services: WACIE – providing RES to the Benin government; ACRES – providing RES to the Ugandan government; and SACE – providing RES to the South African government. Each group will be represented by a government official and an RES provider, who will jointly introduce their work to the audience.
  • Thomas Kelly: Director – Evidence for Policy and Learning (Chair)
  • Ismael Kawooya:  Research Scientist and coordinator at The Center for Rapid Evidence Synthesis (ACRES)
  • Deo-Gracias Houndolo, Regional Coordinator, West African Capacity Building and Impact Evaluation Program (WACIE), 3ie  
  • Harsha Dayal: Director of Research & Knowledge Management, Department of Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation, Government of South Africa
  • Laurenz Mahlanza-Langer, Executive Director, South Africa Centre for Evidence


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Institute (AFDI) are organizing the 2023 Asian Evaluation Week to be held on September 11-14 September in Bangkok, Thailand. This year's theme is "Beyond Recovery: Evaluation for Development Effectiveness". 

View the full agenda | Read more

3ie will be leading the parallel Session 10, Going big, going small, and going outside your comfort zone: pushing the boundaries of development effectiveness evaluations, on 12 September 2023 from 01:30 pm - 03:00 pm. 

  • Julian Glucroft, Associate Director, MCC 
  • Neelakshi Mann, Program Director, Asia, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) 
  • Jeffrey Chelsky, Manager, Economic Management and Country Programs Unit, Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), World Bank (WB) 
  • Tara Marwah, Policy and Project Development Manager, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) Philippines
  • Douglas Glandon, Chief, Strategic Innovations, 3ie (Chair)
Join our growing and dynamic team by applying for one of these unique and impactful roles. View all the current opportunities here.
Senior Research Fellow

Since 2020, 3ie's Fellowship Program has contributed to achieving our mission by tapping into diverse expertise and experience across the world. Our research fellows enhance the quality of 3ie's work and provide intellectual leadership and technical support to areas strategic for the organization. Our fellows are uniquely positioned to lead or support new and ongoing initiatives and programs. It provides an opportunity for experienced researchers to work with our global team on a range of projects in their area of expertise.

This month, we are featuring Ahonali Patrice Gbaguidi, whose work and contribution span various sectors, including rural development, road infrastructure, industries, banks and microfinance. He headed the Department for the Evaluation of the Development Results of Funded Projects (Monitoring & Evaluation) at the West African Development Bank (BOAD in French) from 2012 to 2020. Read more about Gbaguidi here.
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