Friday, November 16, 2012

How do you know if a development project actually worked?

If you’re spending thousands of dollars - or millions - on a development project, you need to know whether it actually made a difference in people’s lives.
An OECD evaluation report on a Millenium Challenge Corp. program to train and support Honduran farmers in adopting new horticultural crops shows how difficult it is to figure out if programs make a difference - and why they do or don’t.
The program did seem to increase horticultural crop income. But household income didn’t change as a result. The program ended up, understandably enough, only reaching people already working with crops beside the basic corns and beans. And it didn’t encourage more families to diversify.
The report is badly written, but definitely worth a quick scan if you’re interested in Honduras, agricultural development or the world of monitoring and evaluation.

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