Strengthening Evaluation of Poverty and Conflict Interventions

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John Berry
Date Published:
January 11, 2011
USAID Contribution

With increasing incidences of poverty and conflict in fragile states, a global call has been raised to do more to help and to be more effective in helping.  Interventions are expected to not only improve the well being of the poor but also to demonstrably impact peace and stability. But how can we measure whether interventions have had an impact? 

In order to address critical knowledge gaps in designing and implementing evaluations, USAID funded the creation of the Poverty and Conflict Learning Network. Over the last two years, academics and practitioners in the network have developed and tested new methods for evaluation and assessment in conflict environments. Their research has focused on such fundamental questions as whether poverty reduction programs can also reduce conflict, and, if so, whether a causal linkage can be established between the two.

During a recent three-day Speakers Corner, Learning Network members shared highlights from their research and facilitated an online discussion revolving around three main challenges: how to design evaluation strategies in fragile environments;  how to develop indicators to evaluate impact; and how to develop and implement tools for data collection.

In response to these questions, discussion on strategies for evaluation covered such topics as partnerships, resources timing, randomized control trials and their alternatives.  On the subject of indicators, participants discussed qualitative versus quantitative indicators, measuring changes in attitudes and practices, and capturing perceptions of time. Exchange on the topic of data collection tools focused on techniques for obtaining information on sensitive topics and ways of improving data collection. 

These discussions attracted more than 100 participants and close to 2,000 views. There were also 23 online resources posted by participants and facilitators.  A summary of the major points raised during the Speakers Corner will be posted on Microlinks.