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.

Empowering youth through participatory monitoring and evaluation

At the 2014 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit, Joanna Melymuk, Program Manager of Plan Canada, presented how to best empower youth through participatory monitoring and evaluation.  After presenting on the Youth Microfinance Project, which aims to promote asset building through Youth Savings and Loans Associations (YSLAs), pilot linkage possibilities of graduated individuals and groups to formal financial institutions, and provide life skills and financial education training to enhance youth’s chances of successful transition into adulthood, Melymuk introduces the Most Significant C

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Exploring the link between Child and Youth Participation and Development Effectiveness

At the 2014 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit, Mel Harwin of Transform Aid International, presented on the link between child participation in development effectiveness and what challenges exist in youth participation. The research presented is part of a joint NGO research and learning partnership that comprises various organizations including ChildFund, Plan International, inSight Sustainability, UMN, UTS, Live & Learn, and the Institute for Sustainable Futures.

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How to Incorporate Child-Level M&E in Economic Development

Economic development programming in the absence of attention to children limits your project’s potential for sustainable change. Therefore, directly engaging them in the M&E process can increase the program's impact At the 2014 Global Youth Economic opportunities Summit, Diana Rutherford, Research and Evaluation Specialist at FHI 360, presented on the importance of incorporating child-level M&E in economic development.

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Getting Started with Mobile Technology

Adoption of electronic data capture and data management systems is still a rarity in international development. With mobile phone user penetration in continuous rise, the possibilities for real-time program monitoring, interactive data collection, and self-reporting activities from the field are within grasp for any organization—including the very new possibility of receiving real-time information from program participants via SMS.

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Save the Date: Improving the Quality of EGRA Data: A Consultation to Inform USAID Guidance on the Administration of Early Grade Reading Assessments

Event host(s)/organization(s): 
USAID Global Reading Network
Event Date: 
Mar 5, 2015 (All day) to Mar 6, 2015 (All day)

The Global Reading Network is hosting a two-day panel discussion focused on designing, administering, and analyzing early grade reading assessments.

Review of Development Partner Support for African Union Youth Employment and Education Priorities

This report provides an overview of efforts of the African Union (AU) and its development partners to strengthen education in Africa, in the context of the urgent and growing youth employment challenge facing the Continent. It begins with an overview of the AU’s role, structure, and main strategic frameworks and priorities as they relate to youth employment and education.

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Open Source Software Expands Reach of Vocational Training in Rwanda

At the 2014 Global Youth Economic Opportunities, Michelle Ell of Global Communities shares the open-source software that they used in Rwanda to rapidly collect, analyze, and store data to achieve a major scale-up of a vocational training initiative.

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A Ganar Impact Evaluation

At the 2014 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit under the Monitoring and Evaluation session "There's no I in IEs," Karen Towers, USAID Education Team Leader, presents findings from the mid-project impact evaluation of the A Ganar Program. The session highlighted the challenges that occur when implementing Randomized Control Trial impact evaluations.

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Monitoring and Evaluation in the Development Sector

KPMG’s Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Survey polled more than 35 respondents from organizations responsible for over US$100 billion of global development expenditure. The survey reflects perspectives from M&E leaders on the current state, including approaches, resources, use of technology and major challenges facing a variety of funders and implementers.

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