Evaluating the Growth with Equity in Mindanao-3 Program

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Date Published:
February 27, 2013

The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) “Growth with Equity in Mindanao III” (GEM-3) was a five-year (2008 to 2012), $99 million dollar program that operated throughout Mindanao, but was specifically targeted to promote development activities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and other conflict-affected areas of the region. GEM-3’s principal objectives were to: (1) accelerate economic growth in Mindanao; (2) assure that as many people as possible participate in and benefit from the growth; and (3) bring about and consolidate peace in Mindanao. To accomplish these objectives, GEM-3 adopted an “umbrella-type” approach, using one management structure for implementing projects and activities across a wide range of technical fields throughout Mindanao.  In June 2012, USAID/Philippines awarded Social Impact a task order to conduct a final performance evaluation of the Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM-3) program.  The GEM-3 evaluation was a particularly unique opportunity to experiment with video technology in evaluation. The evaluation made a significant effort to adhere closely to the USAID Evaluation Policy, with an evaluation design that involved exceptionally rigorous and robust quantitative and qualitative methods, including primary quantitative data collection through a household survey (n=600 respondents), combined with 5 full weeks of qualitative field data collection in Mindanao through interviews, focus groups, and 10 project site visits. This methodology offered ample opportunity to film beneficiaries at the sites where the project was implemented. GEM-3 was also a high-profile and highly relevant evaluation for USAID, whose results will be widely disseminated. Furthermore, GEM-3 represented the third phase of USAID’s largest and longest investment in conflict-affected Mindanao, with an operating budget of over $200 million since 1995. As the agency expands its work in conflict-affected regions, the GEM-3 evaluation can inform those conducting and commissioning evaluations of community development and economic growth programs in high-threat/low-security environments. The video is divided into three parts, presented below. For more details on the Growth with Equity in Mindanao-3 Program, as well as the final evaluation report, please see "Resources” on the right.

Part 1: Framing the Evaluation

This is the first part of a three part video documenting a performance evaluation of the Growth with Equity in Mindanao-3 (GEM-3) Program.  This section describes the reemergence and importance of evaluations in development practices. USAID and evaluation staff members explain the goals of the program being evaluated.  This leads to a discussion of the purpose of the evaluation and some of the challenges inherent in the evaluation questions that the team has been commissioned to answer.

Part 2: Data Collection

This is the second part of a three part video documenting a performance evaluation of the Growth with Equity in Mindanao-3 (GEM-3) Program.  The evaluation team employs various data collection methods: interviews, focus groups, survey research, cost efficiency analysis, reviews of secondary data, and observation of field sites.  This video is particularly useful in describing the real world challenges of data collection, including the dynamic between interviewer and respondent, potential sources of bias, and difficulties such as power outages, vehicle breakdowns, and natural disasters!


Part 3: Final Thoughts

This is the third part of a three part video documenting a performance evaluation of the Growth with Equity in Mindanao-3 (GEM-3) Program.  This section focuses on the challenges of translating the data – some of which is qualitative - into conclusions and specific recommendations.  The Executive Director of the Mindanao Development Authority describes how the evaluations results will be used to inform future programming, and USAID and evaluation staff provide final reflections on the use of video for this evaluation.