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A REVIEW OF I MPACT E VALUATIONS C ONDUCTED IN SA Benita van Wyk (Williams) Feedback Research & Analytics

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Presentation on theme: "A REVIEW OF I MPACT E VALUATIONS C ONDUCTED IN SA Benita van Wyk (Williams) Feedback Research & Analytics"— Presentation transcript:

1 A REVIEW OF I MPACT E VALUATIONS C ONDUCTED IN SA Benita van Wyk (Williams) Feedback Research & Analytics

2 P URPOSE OF THE P RESENTATION This presentation shares insights from a review of a convenience sample of so called Impact Evaluations commissioned by selected government departments / agencies in South Africa over the past 5 years. The purpose is to explore the understanding of the concept Impact Evaluation as it is applied in the South African context. This practical understanding of Impact evaluation as it is implemented on the ground is contrasted with various theoretical understandings of impact evaluation.


4 F OCUS OF THE S TUDY Evaluations called Impact Evaluation or Evaluation which included also an Impact focus Excluded specifically ex-ante Social Impact Assessments and Environmental Impact Assessments Based on document review – TORs, Proposals, Evaluation Reports

5 D EFINITIONS Impact evaluation is intended to determine more broadly whether the program had the desired effects on individuals, households, and institutions and whether those effects are attributable to the program intervention. Impact evaluations can also explore unintended consequences, whether positive or negative, on beneficiaries (Baker, 2000)

6 D EFINITIONS As per the NONIE / DAC definition impact is: positive and negative, primary and secondary long-term effects produced by a development intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended. This definition broadens impact evaluation beyond direct effects to include the full range of impacts at all levels of the results chain. Where do borders around Impact get drawn in reality?

7 B ARRIERS TO IE USE Deemed to be expensive, Time consuming, and technically complex, and Findings can be politically sensitive, particularly if they are negative. Difficult to design IE to ensure Timeous answers To the right questions with sufficient analytical rigor. Limited availability and quality of data

8 C ONTEXT Government The Government Wide Monitoring and Evaluation System (GWMES) is still focusing on roll-out of monitoring systems. Lack of formal Government Wide Evaluation Policy, and no government policy on Impact Evaluation Sensitization to Impact Evaluation since 2006 encouraging thousand flowers blooming M&E Community Have not made a public statement about its position on Impact Evaluation NONIE statement was disseminated with some limited discussion Donor Community Interested in creating more demand for IE Stronger focus on Outcome Evaluation than Impact Evaluation

9 S AMPLE Convenience Sample Government Tender Bulletins over past 5 years Notice on SAMEA List Serve Personal appeals to key informants Snowball Methodology - referrals from initial respondents

10 C HALLENGES Access to information – sensitive findings and careful public officials in an election year Knowledge management - Which Impact Evaluation? Availability of documents – reports, terms of reference Self Screening based on insufficiently clear criteria regarding what constitutes an IE – But this is not a real impact evaluation

11 F INDINGS - R ESPONSES Number of Leads Types of Responses Incomplete studies – TORs Complete studies – Reports, presentations, summary reports Number of leads found91 Number of studies received 46


13 F INDINGS - T HE Q UESTIONS Descriptive questions: Questions that focus on determining how many, what proportion etc. for the purposes of describing some aspect of the evaluation context. Normative questions: Questions that compare outcomes of an intervention against a pre-existing standard or norm. Analytic-Interpretive questions that builds our knowledge base: Questions that ask about the state of the debate issues important for decision making about specific policies. Attributive questions: Questions that attempt to attribute outcomes directly to an intervention like a policy change or a programme Chelimsky, E. (2007). Factors Influencing the Choice of Methods in Federal Evaluation Practice. New Directions for Evaluation 113. p 13 - 33

14 F INDINGS – V ARIABLES UNDER INVESTIGATION Impact of uncontrolled independent variables looking for various kinds of results Independent Variables, less clarity Impact of controlled independent variables looking for various kinds of results Impact of HIV/AIDS on employment Impact Evaluation of ECD, Socio Economic Impact of Gambling Dependent and Independent Variables clear Child Support Grant on Nutrition Public Awareness Campaign on audience knowledge, attitudes

15 T IMING The timing interacts with the questions and the variables under investigation Start?How Long? Descriptive Normative Analytic-Interpretive Attributive

16 D ESIGN & M ETHODS (Experimental, Quasi-Experimental, Mixed- Methods, Qualitative Methods, etc.)

17 D ESIGNS AND M ETHODS : E XAMPLES Whole range of Designs – Mixed methods, Regression, Quasi- Experimental The Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers on Nutrition: The South African Child Support Grant Jorge M. Aguero, Michael R. Carter, Ingrid Woolard Rapid impact assessment of NMTT's work in Cape Town – Impact Consulting

18 SA C HILD S UPPORT G RANT E VALUATION The SA Child Support Grant In 1998 the Child Support Grant was implemented – a no strings grant paid to the Primary Care Giver (PCG) of a child - 98% women in the evaluation Payable initially to children (under 7) in households with a monthly income of { "@context": "", "@type": "ImageObject", "contentUrl": "", "name": "SA C HILD S UPPORT G RANT E VALUATION The SA Child Support Grant In 1998 the Child Support Grant was implemented – a no strings grant paid to the Primary Care Giver (PCG) of a child - 98% women in the evaluation Payable initially to children (under 7) in households with a monthly income of

19 SA C HILD S UPPORT G RANT E VALUATION Evaluation Challenges Single National Program – no purposefully randomized treatment and control group existed No baseline data existed Selection into treatment is not random, Dosage received is not uniform (delay in enrolling), so a binary treatment variable could not be used

20 SA C HILD S UPPORT G RANT E VALUATION Focused the evaluation on the impact of CSG on nutritional gain of children during their first 36 months or window of nutritional vulnerability Operational Definitions Treatment : Check what outcomes are produced by different dosages of the grant using a Continuous Treatment Estimator for the window of 0 - 3 Effect : Height for Age z score – ex-post measure of the effect of 0 – 3 years window of nutritional vulnerability (Measure height twice, and took age from public health card Control: Developed a Standardized Eagerness measure (Did a child enrol quicker than peers in the same locality / age cohort or not) Other covariates – age, education, sex, marital status and employment status

21 SA C HILD S UPPORT G RANT E VALUATION Findings Targeted, unconditional CSG payments have bolstered early childhood nutrition as signalled by child height-for-age Economical and statistical significant effects for large dosages of CSG support. Effects are insignificant for children who received CSG support for less than 50% of the 36 month window Even holds across local differences (e.g. in the supply of health related public goods) Income and nutrition appear to be closely connected – maybe because it is assigned to women

22 R APID I MPACT A SSESSMENT Rapid impact assessment of Nial Mellon Township Trust's work in Cape Town Housing Project Evaluated using rapid appraisal methodology incorporating MSC Income earning adults Dignity Security from crime Grade 11s Safety from fires – school equipment Dignity Primary care-givers Psychological well-being Health/hygiene – self and children Dignity Senior citizens Psychological well-being Health/hygiene Safety and security


24 The kinds of learning supported by the conclusions and recommendations from impact evaluations process learning, organisational learning, impact learning, knowledge development and policy learning

25 I NTENDED U SE The intended use supported by impact evaluation - We refer to use as discussed by Marra (2000), Patton (1997), Sandison (2006) and Weiss (1999)

26 U SE – M ARRA 2000 Instrumental Decision makers have clear goals, seek direct attainment of these goals and have access to relevant information Enlightenment Users base their decisions on a gradual accumulation and synthesis of information

27 U SE – (S ANDISON 2006) Instrumental use Direct implementation of findings and recommendations Conceptual use Evaluations influences through new ideas and concepts Process use (learning) Involves learning on the part of the people and management involved in the evaluation Legitimising use Corroborates a decision or understanding that the organisation already holds providing an independent reference Ritual use Where evaluations serve a purely symbolic purpose, representing a desirable organisational quality such as accountability Mis-use Involves the suppressing, subverting, misrepresenting or distorting of findings for political reasons or personal advantage Non-use Is where the evaluation is ignored because users find little or no value in the findings, are not aware, or the context has changed dramatically Sandison (2006)

28 U SE (P ATTON 1997) Rendering judgements Underpinned by accountability perspective (summative evaluation, accountability, audits, quality control, cost benefit decisions, decide a programs future, accreditation/licensing) Facilitating improvements Underpinned by the developmental perspective (formative evaluation, identify strengths and weaknesses, continuous improvement; quality enhancement; being a learning organisation; manage more effectively; adapt a model locally) Generating knowledge Underpinned from the knowledge perspective of academic values (generalisations about effectiveness, extrapolate principles about what works; theory building; synthesize patterns across programs; scholarly publishing; policy making)

29 F INAL T HOUGHTS Up take of IE Definitions / Discourses around IE Capacity for IE

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