When Adaptation Isn’t Optional: Strategies for Evaluation and Learning in Fragile Environments

Session Number: 2462
Track: Presidential Strand
Session Type: Panel
Session Chair: Carolyn Vopelak [Advisor, Results & Measurement - Pact]
Presenter 1: Kelly Skeith [Head of Programs - Integrity Global]
Presenter 2: Kate Krueger [Senior Evaluation Specialist - International Republican Institute]
Presenter 3: Lauren Mooney [Fragility and Resilience Specialist - International Republican Institute]
Presentation 1 Additional Author: Kathryn Rzeszut [Project Director - Integrity Global]
Time: Nov 16, 2019 (09:15 AM - 10:00 AM)
Room: CC 200DE

Abstract 1 Title: Defining and Mitigating MEL Challenges in Fragile Environments
Presentation Abstract 1:

With an international focus on value for money, cost effective programming and increased support to fragile environments, interventions in such contexts have experienced a challenging upsurge in demand for improved M&E. Awareness of the mixed success of past interventions has increased the need to learn from previous and current programming and capture both negative and positive outcomes. Integrity, an international service provider focused on M&E, research, and learning (MERL) in fragile and conflict environments, will give an overview of the key distinctions they see between MERL work in more stable development contexts versus fragile/conflict environments and provide examples from current work in Syria, Myanmar, Somalia to demonstrate how these distinctions play out in real world contexts and how the related challenges can be mitigated. Themes will include evaluation design and development (rigor versus feasibility), data collection, including data integrity and security, and flexibility or adaptation of approach.

Abstract 2 Title: Adapting and Learning in Fragile Environments
Presentation Abstract 2:

The strongest interventions and MEL approaches come from a foundation of deep research into the local drivers of challenges in fragile and conflict-affected environments, followed by a programming model that is testable and informed by new evidence over time. The International Republican Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that supports democracy, human rights and good governance worldwide, will present a technical guide developed by their Fragility and Resilience and MEL teams intended to help practitioners design, implement, and evaluate programming intended to mitigate the drivers of violent extremism. This is a challenging and sensitive topic that is typically implemented in fragile environments. IRI will share lessons from developing the technical guide, advice for other evaluators looking to create similar products, and example guidance, such as indicators, adaptation modules, and internal evaluation design suggestions.

Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

As international development funders and implementers continue to champion adaptive management and learning during the project cycle, those working in fragile and conflict affected environments may be forgiven for asking “what’s new?” In these spaces, adaptive management isn’t optional - but it also isn’t easy. Measuring hard-to-define results that are often inherent to fragile environments only adds to the challenge. Join panelists with experience conducting and evaluating programs that support the victims of forced migration, counter the drivers of violent extremism, and work towards stabilization in places such as Iraq, Syria, and Myanmar. Panelists will outline what makes MEL distinct in environments where the security and political context is in flux and share practical advice on how to design adaptive and utilization-focused MEL strategies in these contexts. Panelists will also discuss approaches for evaluating hard-to-measure results from the point of view of both internal and external evaluation practitioners.