A systematic review of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimated that 15 percent of all its reports included impact assessments, but noted that “many evaluations were unable to properly assess impact because of methodological shortcomings” (Victora 1995). A review of 127 studies of 258 community health financing programs found that only two studies were able to derive robust conclusions about the impact on access to health services (ILO 2002).
International consensus is growing that more and better impact evaluations are needed. Only by applying scientific rigor can development programs show that they produce results and offer a good return on the investment. The World Bank has made considerable investments in evaluating the impact of many of its development programs. Other donors like the UK and the Netherlands are joining forces. However, impact evaluations are expensive and not all programs need them. Here is the question: How to decide which programs should have an impact evaluation, who should decide and when? Let us know what you think! Continue reading “Who decides what to evaluate, how and when?”