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“3ie has made my job much easier.” This is what we heard last month from a high-ranking government official in Africa, referring to the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), and it made us very proud. Creating 3ie was the outcome of the Evaluation Gap Working Group that we led along with Nancy Birdsall to address the limited number of rigorous impact evaluation of public policies in developing countries. As CGD celebrates its 15th year, it is worth considering what made that working group so successful, the obstacles we confronted, and the work that still remains to be done.
To state the obvious, impact is important. In fact, the Center for Global Development’s Evaluation Gap Working Group was established more than a decade ago to “address the problem of the lack of knowledge about the effectiveness of social programmes in low and middle-income countries”. Unfortunately, it is not the responsibility of the CGD to ensure the effectiveness of such programmes. That responsibility lies with individual NGOs and it is for this reason that programmes can easily fall short of their potential.
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