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Three Itad blogs you might have missed in 2019

Winter holidays are a good time to catch up on some reading. Check out some of our blogs you might have missed in 2019.

From compliance to love with MEL: Supporting busy advocacy organisations to embrace monitoring, evaluation and learning

Isabel Vogel and Stefanie Wallach outline three lessons they identified about how to cross the divide from MEL being about …

Most popular Itad blogs in 2019

With 2019 drawing to a close, we say farewell to the year with a list of some of our most popular blogs. From exploring big debates in international development to deep dives into some of our projects, these blogs give you an insight into what we’re working on and thinking about here at Itad, and we hope you enjoy reading them.

1, The complex reality of …

60 seconds with…Chris Perry

Our ‘60 Seconds with…’ blogs are designed to provide a quick rundown of what our staff do here at Itad. Here is what Chris had to say…

What’s your job here at Itad?

I am a Principal Consultant within the Governance and Institutional Strengthening Practice.

What does that involve?

I provide thought leadership across several thematic areas …

Eyes on a prize for climate information services

The UK Aid-funded Ideas to Impact programme, which is managed by an IMC Worldwide-led consortium, has just launched our evaluation report of the Climate Information Prize (CIP).

The CIP is one of the innovation inducement prizes that Ideas to Impact designed and ran to incentivise solutions to development challenges related to energy access, climate change …

Until no-one is left behind: Strengthening CSOs’ role in immunisation

Global immunisation coverage is advancing towards the 90% target set by the Global Vaccine Action Plan.

According to UNICEF data, global diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis coverage rate reached 86% in 2018. But in the same year, 19.4 million children under one year of age worldwide did not receive the three recommended doses, and an estimated 13.5 million did not …

Synergies in SDGs: How holistic monitoring can support global goals

The UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) promote human rights, equality and empowerment – especially for women and girls – peace and prosperity.

There are 17 goals (and 169 targets) harmonised across economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. They range from ending hunger and malnutrition to providing universal access to …

Nobel prizes and methodological wars. But are we using enough evidence to end poverty?

We were pleased to see development economists Michael Kremer, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo win the Nobel prize for economics this week. Their work has done a lot to raise awareness of development evaluation and the need for better evidence to address global poverty.

Of course, they are not alone: there are others who take a different view, such as Nobel prize …

Lessons from an ex-post evaluation – and why we should do more of them

Even as evaluation specialists, rarely do we get the chance to carry out ex-post evaluations. We recently carried out an ex-post evaluation of Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Expanding Financial Inclusion (EFI) programme and believe we’ve found some key lessons that make the case for more ex-post evaluations.

We’ll be sharing learning from the evaluation …

Why we joined the Global Climate Strike

On Friday 20th September, colleagues from across Itad walked out to join the Global Climate Strike in Brighton. Here, some of them reflect on why they decided to march.

“I joined the global climate strike to put pressure on policymakers to do more to protect our environment for future generations and to conserve our planet’s delicate ecosystem. To quote Ami …

Youth Financial Inclusion: What we’re missing & how can we serve them better

In a recent review of evidence of youth savings initiatives, we found that many studies struggled to disentangle results for youth from the rest of the household and either lacked a definition for youth or used a rather wide age range, making it difficult to understand the impact of savings products and services on them, and how it varies for different age …

A world at risk? A role for evaluators in strengthening Global Health Security.

‘We are not prepared for the threat of a fast-moving respiratory pandemic that could spread across the globe within 36 hours and eventually kill up to 80 million people.’

These chilling words called for action in a recent annual report on global preparedness for health emergencies by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB), an independent group of 15 …

Final Evaluation of DFID’s FoodTrade East and Southern Africa Programme

With the conclusion of Itad’s five-year longitudinal evaluation of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) FoodTrade East and Southern Africa Programme (FTESA), we are very pleased to share our report on the Final Evaluation and two accompanying learning briefs: the first on key findings, lessons and recommendations from the evaluation; and the …

My takeaways from working on the Nigeria National Livestock Transformation Plan and Implementation Framework

As part of our work on the Programme to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) in Nigeria, I worked with the Office of the Vice President (OVP) to develop a Strategy Document for the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) 2019-2028, and an accompanying implementation plan. It was a tight turnaround, given that the request came through in November 2018 and the …

Rapid evaluations: how an evaluation with a quick turnaround can support adaptive management

Adaptive management requires learning as you go. Decisions need to be taken to support course-correction – and they need to be based on evidence.

We often think about monitoring for adaptive management, making sure we are aware of the changes in a particular metric so that we can base decisions on whether something has improved, worsened, or stayed the …

Checking in With the Savings Evidence Map

The Savings Evidence Map was launched in 2018 as part of the Savings Learning Lab activities. The first annual update just added 37 new resources on evidence, bringing the total number of studies included in the map to 299. The overall distribution and characteristics of the evidence have not significantly changed since the first mapping. Studies documenting …

60 seconds with…Ruth Sherratt

Our ’60 Seconds with…’ blogs are designed to provide a quick rundown of what our staff do here at Itad. Here is what Ruth had to say…
What’s your job here at Itad?

I am a consultant working mainly for the Health theme within the Human Development practice

What does that involve?

Currently most of my work is within evaluations around Global Health …

Adaptive Approaches and Conflict Sensitivity in FCVAS – a comparison of approaches

The need for flexible, adaptive approaches in development assistance is increasingly accepted, and over recent years, a number of related tools, approaches and ways-of-working have been developed: Thinking and Working Politically, Adaptive Management, Problem-Driven Iterative Approaches. But does the term ‘adaptive programming’ risks being used to designate all …

60 seconds with…Itad’s Inclusive and Sustainable Business theme

Our ‘60 Seconds with…’ blogs are designed to provide a quick rundown of what our staff do here at Itad. To celebrate their launch, we’re talking to Itad’s new Inclusive and Sustainable Business theme about what they do…

Why a theme for Inclusive & Sustainable Business?

Businesses are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their responses to …

From compliance to love with MEL: Supporting busy advocacy organisations to embrace monitoring, evaluation and learning

Over the past year, Itad has provided tailored capacity-building support in monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) to six advocacy organisations which focus on the Global Fund for Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria replenishment. At the start of the project, we developed a bespoke framework for advocacy grantees to self-assess MEL capacities in their …

Itad’s Green Team: Can we mainstream environmental sustainability into our work?

It’s no secret that we have entered a pivotal time for Climate Change. In October last year, the UN issued a report stating that there were only 12 years left to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C, with so much as half a degree above this target having disastrous consequences for our planet.

Itad is a socially-conscious organisation who is committed to …

Reflections from DSA Conference 2019

In June, I attended the annual Development Studies Association (DSA) conference on the theme of ‘Opening up Development’, hosted by the Open University. The goal was ‘to draw attention to shifts in the global political economy; new forms of development intervention and activism; and the call to ‘de-colonise’ the teaching and learning of development …

The complex reality of evaluation independence

A recent article in the Guardian explored serious concerns raised in the journal BMJ global health about major development funders such as DFID exaggerating the impact of their programmes or ‘gagging’ evaluations when they aren’t as positive as expected.

As a company that does a lot of evaluation for the UK government, including DFID and the FCO, it provoked …

60 seconds with…Katherine Gibney

Our ‘60 Seconds with…’ blogs are designed to provide a quick rundown of what our staff do here at Itad. Here is what Katherine had to say…

What’s your job here at Itad?

Design and Brand Coordinator. It’s a new role in Itad’s growing communications team and I’ve been here since January 2019.

What does that involve?

Creative design support …

Reflections from the 2019 UK Evaluation Society Conference

Our takeaways from the 2019 UK Evaluation Society conference really reflect the event’s theme of ‘Evaluation: A Diverse Field’. In our blog this year, Talar Bogosyan explores how evaluation can keep pace in our digital world, Jessica Rust-Smith reflects on the importance of accessible evaluation outputs and Elisa Sandri wonders how the field is only now beginning to …

Complex systems thinking in international development

One of the key themes of the 2019 UK Evaluation Society conference was complex systems thinking. Keynote speaker Dr Matt Egan, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, suggested that systems thinking is vitally important to help us understand a complex reality.

For evaluation practice, this entails moving away from ‘traditional evaluations’ of …

No time to wait: evaluating the fight against ‘Drugmageddon’

This week, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Sally Davies, called for an Extinction Rebellion-style campaign to raise awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This followed a breakthrough report published by the UN’s Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (IACG) which emphasised that AMR is a global crisis that has the potential to reverse …

Reflections on decentralised climate finance from CBA13

I recently witnessed the potential of a funding mechanism that allows indigenous people and local communities to determine how to protect their forests and enhance their livelihoods. As our review of the Forest Investment Program’s (FIP) Dedicated Grant Mechanism (DGM) shows, a significant level of commitment can be generated when solutions are genuinely developed …

Is open access worth it? Maybe not yet, but we should still do it!

During the impact evaluation of the Millennium Villages project in northern Ghana, we opened up our datasets for wider scrutiny. It was an arduous and often painful journey, taking years just to make small steps forward. On reflection, I do often wonder whether it was worth it. Read on for our story, and why in the end I’d probably do it again!

While the data …

Linking mine action to development: the need for generating evidence of longer-term change

With the annual UN International Mine Awareness Day on April 4, Jason Collodi and Tom Gillhespy from Itad’s Fragile and Conflict-Affected States team outline the importance of linking mine action to longer-term change.

Our recent trip to Somaliland to assess a de-mining programme was enlightening. The programme operates in the border areas with Ethiopia, at the …

Why funders need to practice adaptive portfolio management to support systems change

Much like traditional investors, development funders often manage portfolios of investments. But what does it mean to manage a portfolio, rather than a collection of grants? And how can you ensure a portfolio adds up to more than the sum of its individual parts?

These are important questions for funders given their unique position in funding social change.  …

60 seconds with…Fergal Turner

Our ‘60 Seconds with…’ blogs are designed to provide a quick rundown of what our staff do here at Itad. Here is what Fergal had to say…

What’s your job here at Itad?

I’m a consultant in the education theme.

What does that involve?

At the moment most of the education theme’s time is taken up with the evaluation of the Global Partnership for …

Evaluating transformational change in global programmes that tackle climate change

Last week I was at the “Power of 10: Shaping the Future of Climate Action” – a major climate change summit in Morocco organised by the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) to mark their ten-year anniversary.

The summit was held at the heart of the hugely impressive and futuristic Noor Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power Plant. The largest facility of its kind …

Does adaptive programming work in fragile contexts, and why? The case of PERL in Nigeria

We’ve just published a case study based on a fascinating week in Nigeria last summer, exploring what ‘adaptive programming’ looks like in PERL (the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn), a flagship £100 million DFID-funded governance project.

Adaptive programming or adaptive management has rapidly become the new zeitgeist in international development, …

Changing a Theory of Change: six important lessons from our work with iDSI

Designing a theory of change* – we’ve all been there, right? It took hours of work from many team members – lots of back and forth, nuancing arguments, moving Post-It notes around the wall, wordsmithing, working with a design partner…but it was worth it – a gorgeous theory of change that not only motivates our staff towards pulling in the same direction but …