CGD and 3ie Plan Workshop on Conditional Cash Transfers

April 26, 2010

The Center for Global Development (CGD) and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) will host a workshop at CGD on Tuesday, May 4 to discuss the health and education benefits of conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs. The event, Closing the Evaluation Gap: 3ie One Year On, will also include an introduction to a special issue of 3ie’s new Journal of Development Effectiveness.

CGD president Nancy Birdsall and 3ie executive director Howard White will deliver keynote speeches at the workshop, and high-level policymakers and researchers will discuss the implications of existing evidence and propose recommendations to improve impact evaluations of CCT programs in the future. Panelists and speakers include Ruth Levine, former Evaluation Gap Working Group co-chair and current director of evaluation, policy analysis and learning at USAID; William Savedoff, a Working Group co-chair and CGD senior fellow; Marie Gaarder, 3ie deputy director; Lyn Squire, former president of the Global Development Network; and Laura Rawlings, lead specialist for the World Bank’s Human Development Network.

The link between evidence and policymaking is not a simple one, according to Savedoff. “Impact evaluations often provide a lot of useful nuanced information but policymaking thrives on big messages while trying to accommodate political, social, and cultural pressures,” he wrote in a recent blog post that cautioned against the possible misuse of impact evaluations.

The participants will explore strategies for increasing the role of evidence in development policies. “We need development and policy leaders to call for reforms that focus development interventions in a more effective way,” said White. “This event provides an opportunity to learn what is the impact of conditional cash transfer programs on people’s health and education - when they have worked and why - and what are the lessons learned,” he said.

The recent surge of interest in impact evaluations and creation of 3ie were spurred in part by the activities of the CGD Evaluation Gap Working Group which began in 2004 and drew upon input from 100 development policymakers and practitioners. In 2006 the group’s final report recommended strengthening evaluation efforts within major development organizations as well as establishing an independent organization to push for more and better evaluations designed to be able to attribute development outcomes to specific interventions. After two years of preparatory work, and with support from more than a dozen members and more than a score of associate members, the 3ie was formally launched in 2009.

The May 4 workshop will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will be held at the Center for Global Development, 1800 Massachusetts Avenue NW, in Room 1004/1006 on the lobby-level. Reservations required.

By Ben Edwards