Principles and strategies
The AIM approach is based on the following principles:
- The quality of implementation is a determining factor in the success of public policies, and impact evaluation, by clarifying the design and implementation of programs, helps policies succeed.
- To manage for results, programs must adopt rigorous and prospective testing of operational alternatives to make decisions based on precise evidence.
- The creation of communities of practice is a way for government agencies to access top quality analytical resources and learn from each other.
- The capacity development of client agencies is necessary for ensuring that impact evaluation is country-led and operationally relevant, and that results from impact evaluation will be incorporated into future decision making.
AIM’s strategy is implemented across the following platforms:
Thematic programs that help similar implementing agencies across several countries build capacity to measure the impact of their interventions through a common framework of measurement and analysis.
Country programs that help countries build the capacity to measure the impact and cost-effectiveness of different government programs.
Single innovative evaluations to (a) support project teams and their government counterparts in testing alternative project designs; (b) provide early feedback into program design and roll-out; and (c) demonstrate how impact evaluation can support implementation effectiveness in new areas.
Assessing impact and delivering results
Impact Evaluation (IE) is the application of the scientific method to the study of the human behavioral response to public policy.
IE measures the causal effect of a policy intervention on intended beneficiaries by comparing outcomes between treatment and control groups overtime (counterfactual analysis).
IE helps program managers deliver results by guiding them to:
- think critically about prospective interventions and operational alternatives
- test these alternatives within a rigorous framework of analysis
- provide precise estimates of the relative performance of these alternatives on desired results, such as household income, educational attainment, child mortality, maternal health or employment
- incorporate the findings into future policies
Putting the initiative to work
The initiative is expanding capacity for impact evaluations in African countries in several ways:
- Building technical and organizational capacity to conceive and implement rigorous impact evaluations through a learning-by-doing approach, and incorporating impact evaluation into national programs
- Developing a pool of local resources with impact evaluation skills and experience
- Helping countries conduct rigorous impact evaluations on the effects, costs, and operational feasibility of public interventions
- Coordinating evaluation methods across countries to compare alternative approaches
- Ensuring quality and adherence to study protocols
- Ensuring adherence to human subjects
- Disseminating the lessons learned to country policy makers and other stakeholders
- Providing cross-country venues for dialogue, networking support, and publication outlets in order to improve public policies
The initiative also manages and shares a database on all impact evaluations in Sub-Saharan Africa. The IE database contains over 90 impact evaluations, and is available on this web site. The database disseminates the results of completed impact evaluations, which can aid program managers in designing and implementing better projects and programs.
We encourage researchers and practitioners from any policy and research institution to contribute results from rigorous impact evaluations of development interventions around the region.
We hope that this database will become a shared resource for all professionals to contribute and review ongoing and completed impact evaluation projects.