Insights (Blog)

See All Articles

From Designing and Implementing impact evaluations

Impact evaluations are now a part and parcel of international development grants. They not only serve an accountability function for donors and other stakeholders but provide an opportunity to learn lessons improving the delivery of subsequent interventions. Impact evaluations enable an understanding of the extent to which project goals have been met and assess both intended and unintended consequences of a programme. As a result, they help build the evidence base in the sector and facilitate improved allocation of resources.

CMS has conducted over 170 evaluations working with local and national government, donors and NGOs. We work closely with clients to ensure they commission the right type of evaluation for their needs. We have designed checklists and decision-making tools to aid the process. Evaluators have a tendency to alter programme designs in order to improve assessment processes. This results in tensions with programme implementers. We understand the need to compromise between staying faithful to the programme design and safeguarding the evaluation processes.

Many outcomes in development can be intangible and the result of multiple interacting factors. Consequently, experimental methods are not best suited to evaluate these programmes. We use a range of methodological tools to capture these nuances and have robust systems and processes to ensure high quality data collection and data quality assurance.

With evaluations, the journey is as important as the destination. Process evaluations have often been neglected, but they allow us to understand how the outcome has been achieved and the conditions necessary to bring about that change. They consider issues faced in programme delivery and explore how barriers were overcome. These crucial insights inform whether and how initiatives can be scaled and replicated in different settings.  

All Articles

  • Gaming the wait

  • Task Shifting of HIV Screening in Sex Worker Communities

  • From Designing and Implementing impact evaluations

    Impact evaluations are now a part and parcel of international development grants.

  • Why care for robust secondary data

    Choice of research methodology is largely determined by the research questions -- what we want to find out, and what will help us do that best. But practical considerations such as the availability of resources (including the type of data available and the knowledge and skills of the persons undertaking the research) also influence the method we choose to employ.

  • Measuring the Immeasurable

    Why is the sky blue? What are black holes? How did the world begin? Familiar questions to many parents. Curiosity plays a fundamental role in learning. It keeps you wanting to explore the world and constantly ask questions.

  • The importance of fit-for-purpose research design

    The principle that policies should be designed using the best available evidence is one that is difficult to contest.

  • Using Evidence to Influence Program Design

    Breakthrough’s Early Marriage Campaign, implemented in three districts of the Indian States of Jharkhand and Bihar, aims to utilise a media (mass and community) programme that challenges existing norms around gender and sexuality, for discouraging the practice of early marriage.

  • Creating Social Value

    As experts in social value assessment of business models, we support various corporates to monitor the social performance and assess the impact of their initiatives.The idea of social value is distinct from CSR, and is way broader.

  • What Builds an Effective Information Exchange and Communication System for Disaster Response

    Calling information a “life-saving resource”, the World Disasters Report, 2005 noted: “Disaster-affected people need information as much as water, food, medicine or shelter: accurate, timely information can save lives.”

  • Inclusive Business Models

    In India, around 70 percent to 90 percent of the rural households depend on agriculture and allied sector as their principal means of livelihood. Smallholder farmers constitute 80 percent of total farm households...