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On the Record: Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis Seminar

Apr 17, 2013

The Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning, along with the Society for International Development, hosted the seminar "Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis" on April 11. Presenter Sophie Alvarez, Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), spoke about the Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis (PIPA) approach to program design and evaluation.  While the seminar was held in Washington, DC, people from around the globe participated simultaneously via webinar.  Here's what some of them had to say: 

"Probably the most interesting thing I learned about PIPA was its potential for integration with Logical Framework Analysis in a way that could bring greater dynamism and adaptiveness to project design and implementation."

— Jim Tarrant, PhD
Senior Manager, Environment and Natural Resources
Mission Support Services, Engility

“My big take-away from the seminar was the idea of combining the use of a Theory of Change with Social Network Analysis. They are both individually powerful tools, but together provide a more detailed visual model of how a program brings about social change. I look forward to trying out this aspect of PIPA in future projects.”

— Paula Bilinsky
Director, Monitoring and Evaluation
Development & Training Services, Inc.

"I found Sophie Alvarez's description of PIPA, as an ex-ante M&E method, to be valuable. As a method, it can be used to make a program/project, as well as the M&E/IA system or learning agenda, relevant and local by means of working closely with a full array of stakeholders (not just primary "beneficiaries") to, as Sophia explained, help them "systematically and explicitly articulate their implicit theories of change" as a first step. One might use methods like appreciative inquiry to identify strengths and challenges, as well as what success would look like and how it can best be measured. Going one step further, one could codify the tacit knowledge of these stakeholders, including project staff, as part of the M&E system, thus adding their voices to the data regularly reviewed and analyzed (and not analyzed by project staff alone). An approach like this requires more time to define a program and flesh it out - this is not a "quick start," much beloved by some - but rather one depicted by "getting all one's ducks in a row" with care."

— Diana Rutherford
Research and Evaluation Specialist,
Economic Development and Livelihoods Department

Share your own insights below and check the Events section for upcoming opportunities to participate!