27 March 2013

The new IDS-ITAD Centre for Development Impact

This week IDS and ITAD launched our new joint initiative, the Centre for Development Impact (CDI). 

CDI is a response to the growing interest in impact evaluation in development and a rather cookie-cutter approach to it. 

CDI will be driven by a need to make sure context, questions and capacities drive choice of methods.  It is also dedicated to expanding the tool box of methods, critically evaluating established and new methods as we go along.  

The current focus is on:
  • Exploring a wide range of evaluation designs and methods, including complexity theory, systems thinking and different approaches to causal inference, in order to understand what works, for whom, why, and in what context.
  • Designing appropriate methodologies for evaluating complex interventions in challenging contexts, such as: interventions in emergent, dynamic and uncertain situations (such as conflict), those that are multi-sectoral in nature (like nutrition or empowerment), and those not readily amenable to counterfactual construction (such as value chains).
  • Better understanding the realities of the evaluation process, such as when evaluations are conducted under severe resource (or other) constraints, the politics of evaluation, and the use of evidence.
CDI will aim to do this by: (1) Doing evaluations that provide scope for innovation in a particular domain; (2) Doing research on evaluations, including meta-research and meta-evaluations; and, (3) Developing and delivering training and learning programmes.

The CDI launch was at this week's Impact, Innovation and Learning event at IDS where we are live-streaming keynote speakers and panel sessions.

Part of the launch of the new centre also includes the launch of a new Practice Paper series – the first of which is Cathy Shutt and Rosie McGee’s Improving the Evaluability of INGO Empowerment and Accountability Programmes.  

Also happening is the ‘release’ of the Ghana Millennium Villages IE project Initial Design Document – which IDS is involved in and which has gone through a number of iterations and peer review processes.

We aim to connect CDI with the Guardian’s Global Development Professionals Hub on Impact and Effectiveness and other monitoring, learning and evaluation communities of practice. 

I hope you will find the work of CDI interesting and useful.

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