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A unique partnership

The Centre for Development Impact is an innovative partnership between Itad, UEA and IDS. We contribute to learning and innovation in the field of impact evaluation, through the use of appropriate, mixed method, and robust evaluation designs.


New Frontiers for Evaluation

As part of the International Year of Evaluation 2015 this conference will provide an opportunity to identify good impact evaluation practices and to build new evaluation coalitions for market-oriented development initiatives.


Who Counts? The Power of Participatory Statistics

Local people can generate their own numbers – and the statistics that result are powerful for themselves and can influence policy.


Testing an Uptake Theory with QCA

Policy impact is a complex process influenced by multiple factors. An intermediate step in this process is policy uptake, or the adoption of measures by policymakers that reflect research findings and recommendations.

Latest publications

While contribution analysis provides a step-by-step approach to verify whether and why an intervention is a contributory factor to development impact, most contribution analysis studies do not quantify the ‘share of contribution’ that can be attributed to a particular support intervention.

Institute of Development Studies January 2019

Mixed methods approaches are widely used in impact evaluations, but all too often a ‘methodological gap’ emerges between broad, large-scale surveys and in-depth, small-scale qualitative investigation that can be difficult to bridge. In this CDI Practice Paper by Jeremy Holland, Ramlatu Attah, Valentina Barca, Clare O’Brien, Simon Brook, Eleanor Fisher and Andrew Kardan, we reflect on a multi-country impact assessment of cash transfer programmes in sub-Saharan Africa.

Institute of Development Studies August 2018
This report highlights the paradox within impact investing: the prioritisation of ‘social impact’ without prioritising ‘impact evidence’.
Institute of Development Studies February 2017

Upcoming events

25 April 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
The seminar will discuss how Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) can be applied as a tool for evaluating policy change and advocacy interventions. Oxfam will present how they used QCA for a meta review of Oxfam’s Good Governance initiatives, and the process of sensemaking and validation of the detected patterns.
Speaker(s): Ruth Mayne, Irene Guijt
3 April 2019 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
This seminar will reflect on the challenges of synthesizing evidence about effectiveness through systematic reviews. Based on their experiences with meta-analyses of the literature on contract farming and microcredit, the presenters identify ways to conduct and use systematic reviews sensibly. They will further reflect on the next level of systematisation, i.e. the usefulness of conducting systematic reviews of systematic reviews, drawing on recent work on financial inclusion.
Speaker(s): Maren Duvendack and Giel Ton
3 April 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
In this seminar, the results of a systematic review of systematic reviews will be presented to better understand the impact of a range of financial inclusion interventions on economic, social, gender and behavioural outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. Financial inclusion is a dynamic space with a growing range of intervention types and players. However, the present high-level evidence does not suggest that financial inclusion initiatives have transformative effects or are changing the world. The review finds that the impacts of financial inclusion interventions are small and variable and may be no better than those of comparable alternatives, such as graduation or livelihoods interventions.
Speaker(s): Maren Duvendack, Philip Mader

An introduction to CDI

Centre for Development Impact - Explainer

Latest blog posts

Chris Barnett

Metrics are useful, and the widespread use of standardised metrics and ratings[1] have been helpful over the years. Still, many of the claims of the social impact from investments tend to focus on good news stories or a narrow set of metrics, such as jobs created. With the increased interest in mobilising private capital to address poverty and sustainable development, perhaps it’s time to be more evaluative about social impact?

January 2019
Chris Barnett

A new paper on African investments offers insights into improving social benefits: it can be achieved but requires intentionality by business leaders and fund managers. This isn’t without a cost – something that only serves to highlight structural weaknesses in many fund operating models. The overheads available to support social performance are often tight. So, do donors and philanthropists have a role to play while this fledgling investment ecosystem emerges?

January 2019
Lewis Husain, Gerry Bloom

Some years ago, Tony Saich likened doing research on local government in China to the story of the blind men and the elephant – the complexity of China, and the differences between places, mean that different people experience different things, and describe different realities.

December 2018

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