3ie News | June 2021
Evidence • Action • Impact>

Message from our Executive Director, Marie Gaarder

COVID-19 is still as much a part of our lives today as it was when you read the previous edition of 3ie News. The world has lost many more people than we could ever imagine. Some of us at 3ie have lost near and dear ones as well and duty of care towards our staff and partners remains our priority. Despite these challenges and constraints, not only do we continue to generate synthesis that promotes evidence-based decision-making in L&MICs, but we have also expanded our engagement online and strengthened our partnerships with key actors in the international development community.  Here are some highlights from our work in the last few months. 
  • Our staff has innovated and improvised every step of the way. For example, when travel became difficult, our staff leading regional and country programs in West Africa and the Philippines launched helpdesks that produced rapid evidence briefs, products that respond to specific questions raised by policymakers. These briefs provide a quick overview of the state of evidence around a particular development issue and aid decision making. For example, this rapid response brief highlights evidence on how cash transfers compare to food distribution and this brief underscores the effects of computer-assisted learning programs on education outcomes. 
  • Our Aquaculture team worked closely with partners in the field and the implementation organization in Bangladesh to innovatively collect data and completed a baseline survey, despite trying circumstances in both India and Bangladesh. They came up with customized safety protocols to ensure work was conducted as safely as possible. 
  • In our Rural India Livelihoods program, the team took all engagements with state governments online, reaching officials at both state and district level, something which would have been challenging if these were held in-person. The team also developed state-wise summary statistics to aid researchers and decision-makers working on projects in the livelihoods sector.  
  • In locations like Senegal, where some in-person activities were possible, our West Africa Capacity Building and Impact Evaluation (WACIE) program team, along with CLEAR-FA, conducted a training on impact evaluations. The WACIE team also conducted a hybrid training at the University of Parakou, Benin on impact evaluations. 
  • We also developed trainings on impact evaluation methodology for three institutions: the African Population and Health Center, Kenya; Makerere University, Uganda and with CLEAR-AA, for the University of Zambia.  Ahead of the UN food systems summit in September 2021, we focused efforts on delivering our largest Evidence Gap Map project on food systems, which includes more than 2,000 studies.  

Spotlight | 15 years after ‘Will we ever learn?’: Well, did we?  

Fifteen years ago, the Evaluation Gap Working Group published a report noting the absence of solid evidence on the effectiveness of development programming. This report, and the community behind it, drove a wave of work in impact evaluations focused on development, including setting up 3ie. The drive for more and better evidence has continued to expand and evolve. Today, as the development community faces compounding challenges posed by the pandemic, we believe it’s a good time to ask, what we have learned. To get two different vantage points, we spoke with 3ie’s Executive Director Marie Gaarder, and Research Associate Etienne Lwamba, to try and capture how the evaluation field has changed.

Read the full blog



UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration: looking back at evidence that can make a difference

One of the key learnings from this persisting pandemic scenario has been:‘no one is safe until everyone is’. This holds equally true when viewed from the prism of the environment – and the detrimental effects of its neglect. The world needs a future that works for all people, all species, everywhere. Earlier this month, on 5 June, the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration was launched, calling on governments, organizations and the private sector to do their part. We looked back at some of the evidence that 3ie has produced, that can provide some insight for decision-makers.
Incentivizing landowners to conserve and restore ecosystems: Despite their increasing popularity, key policy questions around the effectiveness of payment for environmental services (PES) on environmental and socio-economic outcomes remain unanswered. Our mixed-method systematic review examines the effectiveness of 18 PES programmes in 12 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia and Pacific, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The main findings are summarized in this blog and brief.

Does decentralized forest management work? We also produced a systematic review that examines the evidence on the effects of decentralized forest management (DFM) interventions on deforestation and poverty outcomes. The findings suggest positive, though modest, effects overall of DFM on deforestation. You can also read the main highlights in this blog.

Understanding the gaps in evidence: What is abundantly clear is the urgent need to generate rigorous evidence and undertake more research to analyze concrete policy outcomes. By identifying key gaps where little or no evidence is available, 3ie has developed various evidence gap maps of existing evidence on forest conservation programmes as well as a gap map on the impact of land use change and forestry programmes on greenhouse gas emissions and on food security.

 Evidence impact

A few months ago, we launched the Evidence Impact Summaries, a unique public portal that allows you to explore how 3ie-supported evidence has informed and influenced decision-makers. To amplify this work and provide some insight into our approach, we recommend reading some of our recent Evidence Impact blogs:

•    Increasing immunization rates by engaging community leaders
•    Claiming the influence of studies with confidence
•    Residents use drones and apps to protect the Ecuadorian Amazon
•    Seven ways that development decision makers use evidence

Read all Evidence Impact blogs >>

Latest summary | Working with school students to transform gender norms
Evaluation findings of a school-based programme to shift gender norms in Haryana, India have informed the neighbouring Punjab state to launch a similar programme. Punjab government’s education department announced a partnership with global human rights organisation Breakthrough and J-PAL South Asia to adapt, expand and evaluate the ''Taaron Ki Toli'' programme. Global Innovation Fund, which is funding Breakthrough for the expanded programme, cites the 3ie-supported study’s findings to justify its support. The school-based programme, which nurtures youth to champion gender equality and girls’ empowerment through youth clubs and other school-based interventions, will be included in the Moral Sciences, Social Studies, and English curriculum for students in grades 6 to 8 of over 4,500 Punjab government schools. 

Read more summaries on our portal >>

If you have an evidence impact story to share, reach out to us at influence@3ieimpact.org. 


Past events

3ie @ conference | gLOCAL Evaluation Week 2021, 31 May-4 June (In French: watch session 1 and session 2)

3ie Evidence Dialogues | Using implementation research to strengthen nutrition interventions, 27 May

CEDIL webinar | How to evaluate impact in intensely interdisciplinary research, 24 May

3ie@conference | Strenghtening pathways from evidence to Action, Niti Aayog, 19 March

3ie Evidence Dialogues | Evidence-informed development – starting with the man in the mirror, 17 March


Rapid review briefs Impact evaluation brief: Impacts of judicial reforms to address court congestion and delays in justice in the Philippines
Programme overview: Engaging stakeholders to identify and address implementation bottlenecks in iron-folic acid supplementation programmes in East Central Uganda
Evidence gap maps: Mapping energy efficiency interventions (Full report | View map)

Working papers
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