Posted by: norapillard | June 9, 2010

How Research Informs Our Work: How do we evaluate what we do and how we do it?

It is of crucial importance that we, as an organization, stay informed of current research related to our work in Waslala- new water solutions and policies, environmental education innovations, and trends in evaluation of international development projects.  Although there is no need to bore you all with references to specific studies and articles, I do think that this work challenges us, as an organization, to continually reevaluate and improve what we do and how we do it.

The evaluation standards for development aid established in 1991 by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have been the most influential work in development evaluation.  In this document, the five criteria to evaluate development interventions are[i]:

(1)   Relevance: Are the activities and outputs of the program consistent with the intended impacts and effects?

(2)   Effectiveness: What are the major factors influencing the achievement or non-achievement of the objectives?

(3)   Efficiency: Was the program or project implemented in the most efficient way compared to alternatives?

(4)   Impact: What has happened as a result of the program or project (positive and negative, directly or indirectly, and intended or unintended)?

(5)   Sustainability: To what extent did the benefits of a program or project continue after donor funding ceased?

WfW utilizes these criteria to guide both our project planning and design as well as our evaluation.  Because many scholars consider the quality of international development evaluations to be disappointing, researchers are currently debating ways to add to and improve the criteria in evaluation of international development interventions.  In future blog posts, I will describe some of these debates, as well as, how WfW incorporates new criteria for evaluation into our current planning and evaluation in Waslala.


[i] Chianca, T. (2008). The OECD/ DAC Criteria for International Development Evaluations: An Assessment and Ideas for Improvement. Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation. 5(9), 41-51.

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