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Strengthening Evidence-Based Development: Five Years of Better Evaluation Practice At USAID

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March 29, 2016

With the release of the Evaluation Policy in 2011, USAID renewed its commitment to invest in high-quality evaluation practices that inform effective program management, demonstrate results, promote learning, support accountability and provide evidence for decision-making. In keeping with the Agency’s tradition of evaluation, this five-year report, Strengthening Evidence-Based Development: Five Years of Better Evaluation Practice at USAID, details what we have learned since USAID first published its Evaluation Policy five years ago, and how we can move forward with increased evidence-based decision-making.

Since the release of the Evaluation Policy, USAID has:

  • Increased the number of evaluations commissioned each year to an average of more than 200 per year, totaling more than 1,000 evaluations since 2011.
  • Provided formal training in evaluation to more than 1,600 USAID staff.
  • Improved the quality of evaluations by ensuring that planning happens in advance, using the best methods for answering a focused set of questions and encouraging that evaluations be conducted by external experts.
  • Reported transparently on evaluation findings, particularly by sharing evaluation reports online at the Development Experience Clearinghouse.
  • Used evaluation findings to inform project design, make mid-course corrections, increase knowledge and learning in specific sectors.
  • Strengthened program monitoring so that evaluations can focus on a more complex set of questions beyond whether a project is meeting its targets.