International Monitoring and Evaluation
Effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems are essential to helping development actors implement interventions based on evidence, with fidelity and integrity; to access and utilize evidence needed for scale up and replication of effective solutions; and to document proven practices that serve those most in need.
AIR’s evaluation capacity is represented by research scientists, economists, evaluation specialists, and program implementation experts who understand and employ the principles of effective project management while using appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods to generate valid, reliable, and usable evidence to document, guide, and assess project achievement of intended results.
Our M&E practices include
- monitoring project implementation for fidelity to design and adaptation to context;
- evaluating the performance of projects; and
- conducting impact evaluations for evidence of the effectiveness of project designs and interventions.
AIR’s use of mixed methods designs provides the most robust approach to evaluation, producing evidence of program effectiveness as well as information about context and implementation related to the achievement of results.
Evaluation design should provide the greatest utility for the information generated at the earliest stages possible. AIR provides evaluation assistance to a full range of global clients. Our evaluation designs are fully consistent with the American Psychological Association Ethics Code and guided by Program Evaluation Standards developed by the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation.
Our Work: Zambia Social Cash Transfer
This ongoing large-scale randomized control trial (RCT), funded by UNICEF and DFID, examines the impacts of an ambitious unconditional cash transfer program in rural Zambia. It has captured a wide range of outcomes including household expenditures, investments, employment, nutrition, education, and child outcomes. The Zambia study is one of the largest RCTs of cash transfer programs in Africa with over 5,500 households followed for four years. The quality of the study design and its data collection and reporting resulted in the study being selected as “Best UNICEF Research” in 2014. More importantly, the interim impact findings have informed a national scale-up of the rural social cash transfer program, which started rollout in 2014.
How AIR Conducts Evaluations Globally
AIR uses the scientific research principles of replicability, precision, falsifiability, and parsimony for systematic monitoring and evaluation. AIR's systematic approach to evaluation ensures the feasibility of the proposed evaluation, the reliability of the methods, and the validity of the findings. The goal is to maximize transparency and enable clients and stakeholders to understand the rationale behind the evaluation design and findings.
AIR reinforces local capacity whenever possible. As long as there is no conflict of interest, we pursue local partnerships with in-country nationals from research centers, universities, and civil society organizations to achieve two goals:
- Strengthen national assets in systematic evaluation, and
- Better understand and adapt to the cultural dynamics that affect programs and their evaluation.