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How do you Measure the Impact of Influencing (and ask some v useful questions en route)?

November 25, 2021
MEL (monitoring, evaluation and learning) is a lot more interesting than it sounds. Done badly, it can amount to little more than bean-counting to satisfy the donor, of little value to the actual programme or people who are supposed to benefit. But done well, it raises all sorts of really important questions about how the programme/project is designed, early enough
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8 mistakes to avoid in reporting an INGO’s contributions to the SDGs

August 19, 2021
Guest post from Ximena Echeverria Magariños and Jay Goulden, of CARE International INGOs have for many years felt the need to communicate how many people their programs reach in a year, but the numbers of people our programs “touch” doesn’t tell us anything about the difference they make in people’s lives. Increasingly, INGOs are seeking to report numbers of people

Adaptive rigour: bridging the art and science of adaptive management

May 7, 2019
Ben Ramalingam and Leni Wild share the thinking behind a new initiative to support adaptive management in aid. Adaptive management seems to be everywhere these days – and is one of the most popular topics on this blog. More and more, it is becoming seen as the best way to deal with a wide range of development and humanitarian problems, from

Simplicity, Accountability and Relationships: Three ways to ensure MEL supports Adaptive Management

July 3, 2018
Chris Roche, a mate and mentor in all things system-y, reflects on what sounds like a Filipino version of our recent Bologna workshop. The week before Duncan was slaving away in Bologna on adaptive management I was attending an Asia Foundation ‘practitioners’ forum’ in Manila.  The focus of the event was on Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning for Adaptive Programming. The

Seven Rules of Thumb for Adaptive Management – what do you think?

June 28, 2018
Adaptive Management (aka Doing Development Differently, Thinking and Working Politically) seems to be flavour of the month, at least in my weird bubble of a world, so the next week is going to feature a series of posts on different aspects of what looks like a pretty important ‘movement’ First up, at one of the sessions at the Bologna workshop

What did I learn from a week discussing Adaptive Management and MEL?

June 20, 2018
Just got back from an extraordinarily intense week in Bologna, running (with Claire Hutchings and Irene Guijt) a course on ‘Adaptive Management: Working Effectively in the Complexity of International Development’. The 30 participants mainly came from NGOs and non-profits, but with a smattering of government officials and consultants. What made the discussion different from previous AM chats is that they

The Politics of Results & Evidence. Most read post from this summer (ICYMI)

September 23, 2015
OK, Oxfam’s IT whizzes finally seem to have fixed a really frustrating problem – several thousand people who had signed up for email alerts about new FP2P posts haven’t been receiving them for the last 3 months. Many of them assumed Oxfam had finally got round to sacking me and/or I’d got fed up with blogging/gone under a bus. Sorry

What do we know about the long-term legacy of aid programmes? Very little, so why not go and find out?

May 21, 2015
We talk a lot in the aid biz about wanting to achieve long-term impact, but most of the time, aid organizations work in a time bubble set by the duration of a project. We seldom go back a decade later and see what happened after we left. Why not? Everyone has their favourite story of the project that turned into

Measuring the difficult stuff (empowerment, resilience) and learning from the results; where has Oxfam got to?

December 3, 2014
I’m not generally a big fan of measurement fetishism (too crude, too blind to complexity and systems thinking). When I used to (mis)manage the Oxfam research team and wanted a few thousand quid for some research grant, I had to list numbers of beneficiaries (men and women). As research is a global public good, I always put 3.5bn of each.

What’s the best way to measure empowerment?

July 18, 2014
Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) used to send me into a coma, but I have to admit, I’m starting to get sucked in. After all, who doesn’t want to know more about the impact of what we do all day? So I picked up the latest issue of Oxfam’s Gender and Development Journal (GAD), on MEL in gender rights work,

When we (rigorously) measure effectiveness, do we want accountability or learning? Update and dilemmas from an Oxfam experiment.

October 18, 2013
Claire Hutchings, Oxfam’s Global MEL Advisor, brings updates us on an interesting experiment in measuring impact – randomized ‘effectiveness reviews’. For the last two years, Oxfam Great Britain has been trying to get better at understanding and communicating the effectiveness of its work. With a global portfolio of over 250 programmes and 1200 associated projects in more than 55 countries on

So What do I take Away from The Great Evidence Debate? Final thoughts (for now)

February 7, 2013
The trouble with hosting a massive argument, as this blog recently did on the results agenda (the most-read debate ever on this blog) is that I then have to make sense of it all, if only for my own peace of mind. So I’ve spent a happy few hours digesting 10 pages of original posts and 20 pages of top quality