Evaluation 2016: Evaluation + Design

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Barking up a Better Tree: Lessons about Sustained and Emergent Impact Evaluations (SEIE)

Session Number: 2632
Track: International and Cross Cultural Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Tags: Accountability, Country ownership, Evaluation, Impact, Impact evaluation, participatory evaluation, post-project evaluation, Program Design, sustainability, Sustainable Development, sustained and emergent impact evaluation
Session Chair: Laurie Zivetz [Independent Consultant]
Presenter 1: Jindra Cekan, PhD [President and Catalyst - Valuing Voices at CEKAN CONSULTING LLC]
Presenter 2: Patricia Rogers [Professor - ANZSOG Aust & NZ Schl of Govt]
Presenter 3: Beatrice Rogers [Friedman School at Tufts University]
Presentation 1 Additional Author: Laurie Zivetz [Independent Consultant]
Presentation 2 Additional Author: Greet Peersman [Deputy Director, BetterEvaluation Project / Associate Professor - Centre for Applied Social Research, RMIT University]
Time: Oct 26, 2016 (04:30 PM - 06:00 PM)
Room: M104

Abstract 1 Title: What is Sustained & Emergent Impact Evaluation and why do we need it?
Presentation Abstract 1:

This presentation will report on a review that showed the limited existence of post-project evaluations among a wide range of donors and implementers to investigate the longer-term impacts of development projects and programs. In our review of repositories of 30 organizations we have found the rare actual field-based post-project evaluations and estimate that over $1.5 trillion in development program resources remain unevaluated. We highlight some of the 19 organizations that have examples of post-project evaluations with feedback from participants and partners and discuss the implications for the accountability and opportunity for learning and improvement in development.

Abstract 2 Title: Options for conducting and using Sustained and Emergent Impact Evaluations
Presentation Abstract 2:

The presentation will describe the designs and methods used in some rare examples of post-project evaluations and discuss the implications for evaluation and intervention design, including the need for a theory of sustainability, and the need for a wider range of evaluation designs that can accommodate multiple causal factors and emergent impacts. It includes analysis of evaluations that looked at the cumulative impact of multiple projects over many years, including in the Koshi Hills of Nepal. In particular it will describe how the learning from one evaluation 1-2 years post-project with interviews with key informants across 100 federally-funded projects was used to inform project design in the next funding round.

Abstract 3 Title: Critical Factors for Sustainability: Lessons from a four-country study of Exit Strategies and Sustainability
Presentation Abstract 3:

The presentation covers a post-project evaluation study commissioned by USAID/ Food For Peace of food-assisted programs containing 12 projects in Bolivia, Honduras, India, and Kenya that closed out in 2009. The presentation includes their ‘theory of change’, including a mantra of four essential elements for successful exit: sufficient resources, capacity, motivation, and (usually) linkages.

Abstract 4 Title: Generating evidence of sustained impact post-project: A mission just beginning
Presentation Abstract 4:

This presentation will describe the methods and processes used in one post-project sustained and emergent evaluation in Niger and one final evaluation with projected sustained impact in Ethiopia. Both used qualitative and quantitative methods with participants and partners coupled with observation of tangible functioning assets that illustrated longer-term impacts. Further interviews with past staff, partners and donors illuminated elements for success, including involvement of youth. We discuss some limitations to consider when doing such evaluations and how to use findings to inform M & E, project design and implementation.

Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract: 

Despite the increasing focus on impact evaluation, especially in international development, evaluations rarely look at the longer-term impact of evaluations but report on the achievement of shorter-term outcomes.  This session makes the case for designing and investing in evaluations that look at whether the intended impacts are achieved and sustained in the long-term and what other impacts (unexpected or adaptive) emerge over time. Sustainability involves durability of outcomes and impacts long after project resources have left. Given the need to emphasize these aspects of these evaluations, we propose a new label for this type – Sustained and Emergent Impact Evaluation (SEIE).  The session reviews designs and methods that have been used in the few available examples and discusses the implications for designing these new impact evaluations, monitoring and evaluation systems and projects and programs themselves, including articulating a ‘theory of sustainability’.


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