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How We Measure Results

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Results photo

A focus on results is at the heart of the World Bank Group’s approach to delivering programs and policy advice with partners in low-income and middle-income countries alike. Through financial assistance and technical knowledge the World Bank Group helps people across the world build a better future for themselves, their families and their country.

What counts as a development result? The World Bank Group and its country partners are documenting development outputs and outcomes, to better understand the wider impact on results. The focus, for example, is on counting both the number of hospitals or rural health clinics built and the impact that their services had on the lives of people who used them. Did access to health care improve? How many children were inoculated against infectious diseases? What was the impact on under-five child mortality? Were more children able to go to school because of better access?

A Dynamic Framework for Capturing Results
Results frameworks have long existed in World Bank Group-supported development operations. They are continuously improved to better capture results data and see what did and did not work and why. The World Bank Group continues to fine-tune its systems for gathering and processing development information. For example:

  • All Bank Country Assistance Strategies now include key measurable assessments, allowing governments, donors and stakeholders to collaborate more effectively in identifying and achieving common goals for development.
  • All new Bank Sector Strategies include measurable results indicators.
  • All Bank projects rely on monitoring and results frameworks to guide implementation make midcourse corrections as needed, measure impact and cull lessons learned.
  • IDA uses its Results Measurement System to identify and track development results in countries where policies and operations are being supported and to evaluate IDA's performance in the process.

Several Initiatives Are underway
Several important initiatives at the corporate and project level are underway to strengthen our ability to monitor and measure the quantitative and qualitative results of IDA and IBRD support.

  • Core Sector Indicators. Since July 2009, the Bank has strengthened how it measures results by introducing the collection and aggregation of standardized data from projects supported by IDA in seven sectors – education, health, roads, water supply, micro and small and medium enterprise, urban development, and information and communication technology. Core sector indicators for additional sectors and themes are under discussion, and the scope of the exercise is being expanded to include the IBRD portfolio as well. This newly aggregated information supplements the more-detailed project, country and sector results data previously available. To facilitate the capture of this key data, Bank systems have been updated to allow teams to add relevant core sector indicators to the project results frameworks.

  • IDA at Work and World Bank at Work. Quantitative data – enhanced by the Core Sector Indicators – is complemented by qualitative overviews at the country, sector, thematic and project levels. These qualitative reviews illustrate how IDA and IBRD are supporting government development programs that make a difference – whether the effort is bolstering governance to reduce poverty in Bangladesh, boosting agricultural competitiveness in Burkina Faso, equipping the judicial system to promote justice in Ethiopia, or bringing clean water to communities in Rwanda.

  • Results Measurement System: The International Development Association (the World Bank's fund for the world's poorest countries) tracks aggregated results. Its Results Measurement System (RMS) is designed to strengthen the focus of IDA's activities on development outcomes and keep donors aware of IDA's effectiveness. The system measures results on two levels: Aggregate country outcomes including: Growth and poverty reduction, Governance and investment climate, Infrastructure for development, Human development. IDA's "agency effectiveness."

  • Implementation Completion Reports: When a project is completed and closed at the end of the loan disbursement period (a process that can take anywhere from 1-10 years) the World Bank and the borrower government document the results achieved; the problems encountered; the lessons learned; and the knowledge gained from carrying out the project. A World Bank operations team compiles this information and data in an Implementation Completion and Results Report, using input from the implementing government agency, co-financiers, and other partners/stakeholders. The report is independently evaluated by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), and is submitted to the Bank's Board of Executive Directors for information purposes. The knowledge gained from this results measurement process is intended to benefit similar projects in the future.

To ensure lasting gains the World Bank Group helps partner countries to develop the capacity to build their own statistical, information and learning systems and design and implement effective programs. Financing and training is provided, for example—through the new, donor-supported Statistics for Results Facility—to upgrade government monitoring and evaluation systems and the skills. This support is not limited to agencies that implement Bank-supported projects but also includes offices responsible for national planning and budgets. By making available self-assessments tools—such as the Capacity Scan for Managing for Results—the Bank helps countries to decide how to strengthen their capacity to measure and monitor results and use the data to gauge program effectiveness. Important new efforts, including the country portfolio and results performance and monitoring system, are strengthening our ability to monitor and measure the size and quality of benefits flowing from World Bank Group support, and sustain achievements by building the capacity of partner countries through self-assessments in managing for development results.

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