Impact Assessment

Why have a Standard for measuring results? Donor Committee for Enterprise Development, 2011 (English/French)

    What are the results of development aid? The answer is often “well, it is very complicated” – but this is not enough, and does not do justice to what is happening on the ground. There are isolated success stories, but what is being achieved in aggregate? It is a question that is finally being answered, practically, and this Paper describes where we are in the process now.

    The key lies in being clear about the logic of each programme. Results measurement cannot be delegated to specialists. Rather, it must be based firmly on the design of the programme: why is it doing what it is? Are events unfolding in the way that we assumed they would? These are simple questions, and programme managers already hold some of the answers in their heads. But until now, we have lacked the framework to address them systematically.

    The DCED presents such a framework in the Standard: taking the spirit of the logical framework, and applying it to programmes in private sector development, in a new way. Unpacking the logic of the programme in detail enhances effectiveness every time, as it enables managers to validate the assumptions on which their programme is based. It also increases efficiency, as activities that are not going anywhere can be adapted or abandoned. Finally, it enables managers to estimate the results that they are achieving, in credible ways.

    This does not replace rigorous impact assessments – which can only be done in a few cases because they are so expensive. It also does not replace evaluations, which ask broader questions. But the case studies in the Paper highlight what can be achieved; one can only conclude how surprising it is that development
    programmes do not already articulate the logic of their work more clearly – and use that logic to track their achievements.

    In this Paper, you can read about what the DCED Standard for results measurement is, and how is was developed – by people in the field. It describes the programmes, large and small, that are applying it and finding it valuable. The steps to apply it are clearly laid out, the support that the DCED Secretariat and others can provide is also described.

    This is a work in progress; more case studies are constantly being added. You are invited to join the initiative, and to apply the Standard framework in your own work. As one programme manager notes, the Standard “saves us time and effort. We do our job better”.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Impact Assessment
    »2008 Reader on Measuring and Reporting Results, by Jim Tanburn (English/French/Spanish)
    »DCED Results Measurement Initiative, 2011 (English/French/Spanish)