Evaluation & Assessment

This cross-cutting theme focuses on improving the effectiveness, sustainability, and scale of programs by sharing data on what works and what doesn’t, and methodologies for monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment.   Improved practices in this area promise to provide stakeholders with enhanced understanding of which interventions have meaningful impact, what the likely return on investment will be, and how to design and implement improved monitoring and evaluation initiatives.

Where are we now?

As the YEO field matures, pilot programs and anecdotal data have given way to increasingly sophisticated approaches to program measurement and learning. These advances are critical to scale, replication, policy and government partnership initiatives. However, more work remains. Confusion about the purpose and practice of monitoring, evaluation and assessment, and the way it can contribute to learning with an organization or program still exists.  A common language for this area along with standardized measures of cost and benefit are also necessary to ensure discussions are productive and evaluations reflect a common framework of practice.

Trends and emerging practices

  • Donors are advocating for more rigorous evaluation to ensure greater accountability and learning.
  • Although randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the gold standard, they can be expensive and time consuming, leading some donors to find quasi-experimental and impact evaluations very appealing, while others invest more significantly in M&E activities.
  • For corporations and foundations, evaluations are important to measure the social value proposition and social impact of their investments to consumers, customers, and employees.
  • More implementers are recognizing the importance of investing in good M&E, so they can demonstrate to donors their organization's social value proposition, particularly to impact investors.
  • More organizations are successfully using mixed methods approaches (both quantitative and qualitative data) to M&E.
  • Survey and focus group tools should be tested and finalized with young people for tools to achieve greater reliability and validity.
  • Data from young people should be triangulated with data from significant adults in their lives (such as parents, guardians, and teachers) to contextualize its meaning and importance.
  • More organizations are recognizing that existing M&E staff may not have the skills set required to engage young people, so training on how to conduct youth-inclusive M&E is important. 
  • Young people are not homogeneous, so questions need to be framed differently for young men and young women, youth from urban and rural communities, and/or youth from different socio-economic groups.


Five Steps to More Meaningful Youth Engagement

My name is Matthew French and I work for JBS International, Inc. This blog draws upon research conducted under contract with USAID’s office of Education (read the full youth engagement report here), as well as my own experiences working with young people.

Global Employment Trends 2014 - Risk of a Jobless Recovery?

The global labour market situation remains uneven and fragile. True, there are encouraging signs of economic recovery in those advanced economies most affected by the global financial crisis which erupted in 2008. Also, a number of emerging and developing countries − including recently in Sub-Saharan Africa − are enjoying relatively robust economic growth. The world economy may thus be growing somewhat faster than over the past three years.

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Youth Employment and Migration: A Review of Practices from Joint Programmes of the United Nations

In 2007, the United Nations (UN) established the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDG-F) to help attain the goals set by the Millennium Declaration. The Achievement Fund is a wide-ranging development cooperation mechanism with an overall budget of more than US$800 million. It was funded by a contribution from the Government of Spain to the UN system to implement programmes aimed at eradicating poverty and inequality.

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AIYD Learning Series: Measuring the Big Five: What International Youth Work Readiness Programs Can Learn from Evidence-Based Research

Event host(s)/organization(s): 
Event Date: 
Sep 22, 2014 (03:30pm to 05:30pm)

While experience in assessing soft skills programming in workforce youth programs in developing countries is relatively limited, there is valuable data and lessons in non-cognitive assessment from US and international research.  

Value Chain Program Design Training

Event host(s)/organization(s): 
Action for Enterprise (AFE)
Event Date: 
Sep 15, 2014 (All day) to Sep 19, 2014 (All day)

Action for Enterprise (AFE) is offering a series of three to five-day workshops that present the latest methodologies and practice for designing value-chain programs that incorporate strategies for sustainable impact. Participants will learn how to design programs that result in market-based solutions to MSME constraints such as market access, input supply, technology/product development, management training, policy reform, and access to finance.

Innovative Practices to Reach Financial Inclusion: Learning from Peers’ Experiences

Event host(s)/organization(s): 
Azerbaijan Micro-finance Association (AMFA)
Event Date: 
Oct 9, 2014 (All day) to Oct 10, 2014 (All day)

Following its tradition, Azerbaijan Micro-finance Association (AMFA) will be organizing a 2-day conference from October 9-10, 2014 in Baku, Azerbaijan. The conference will gather about 200 practitioners from around the country as well as from neighboring countries like Georgia, Russia, and those in Central Asia.

Sanabel 2014 Conference: "Microfinance at Crossroads; Current Developments and Future Prospects in the Arab States"

Event host(s)/organization(s): 
Sanabel – The Microfinance Network of Arab Countries
Event Date: 
Sep 29, 2014 (06:30pm) to Sep 30, 2014 (06:30pm)

Sanabel – The Microfinance Network of Arab Countries-is pleased to announce its 2014 Conference, which will be held from September 29th – September 30th, 2014 at the Intercontinental Hotel – Festival City - Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Pre and Post conference trainings are also offered on 28th of September and 1st of October.

World Bank Group’s Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture: Project Scope & Data Coverage, Early Results and Next Steps

Event host(s)/organization(s): 
The World Bank, SEEP
Event Date: 
Sep 25, 2014 (08:30am to 11:00am)

Sep 25, 2014 (Thu), 8:30am-11:00am (US EDT) (Breakfast included)

-By invitation only-

The session is designed for experienced practitioners in agricultural development. For an invitation to this event please fill out the expression of interest form.

Advancing the FIELD

Event host(s)/organization(s): 
USAID, Field-Support LWA
Event Date: 
Sep 11, 2014 (All day) to Sep 12, 2014 (All day)

The FIELD-Support LWA has been one of USAID’s primary mechanisms for facilitating broad-based learning through programs to reduce poverty and promote sustained, equitable growth.

PIND 2014 Youth Link Forum: Linking Youth to Employability Skills and Entrepreneurship Development Opportunities in the Niger Delta

Event host(s)/organization(s): 
Event Date: 
Oct 14, 2014 (All day) to Oct 15, 2014 (All day)

The Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) is hosting its first Youth Link Forum with the theme “Linking Youth to Employability skills and Entrepreneurship Development Opportunities in the Niger Delta” on 14-15 October, 2014, at the Aldgate Congress Hotel, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to discuss and contribute to resolving the most pressing economic and social problems that limit youth potential.


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