Development that Works
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    This blog highlights effective ideas in the fight against poverty and exclusion, and analyzes the impact of development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • How to measure the effectiveness of development projects?



    By Arturo J. Galindo y Tracy Betts

    For those of us working in the field of international development, it’s more and more critical to understand what works, what doesn’t work, and why to be able to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of what we do.

    Picture: IDB

    Picture: Inter-American Development Bank. Suriname.

    That’s the reason why it is of utmost importance for a multilateral organization such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to systematically document progress on the projects it finances, as well as the lessons learned in implementation. Every year the IDB collects its progress and lessons learned in the Development Effectiveness Overview (DEO).

    The DEO is the gateway to the various IDB contributions to development in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

    This year the DEO, entitled “What Worked (and Didn’t): Lessons in Development 2012-2015“, has focused on the tools that allowed the Bank to measure the results of the operations it supports and its performance during this period. These instruments include the Corporate Results Framework (CRF) and project evaluations.

    The CRF, in addition to allowing the IDB to measure and clearly show its progress towards achieving the goals outlined in its Institutional Strategy, helps the Bank to identify where to make adjustments to achieve the goals set for the medium term.

    DEO 2015 Development Effectiveness Overview

    Click here to download the report.

    The DEO includes a total of 13 project stories that illustrate how IDB-financed operations have helped improve lives in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    For example, one can discover how private sector resource mobilization and support was crucial to creating the largest hydroelectric plant in Central America. Readers can also learn how the construction of a new metro line in Brazil improved the lives of São Paulo’s residents.

    The DEO also includes a selection of 13 project evaluations that illustrate the importance of rigorously analyzing the scope and impact of IDB-financed operations.

    Thanks to these evaluations it’s possible to understand why a project was successful (or not) so that these findings can be incorporated in the design of future projects.

    For example, for the first time an impact evaluation showed that an emergency hotline service in Medellín, Colombia helped to reduce physical attacks against women by 37%.

    Another impact evaluation confirmed that efforts in Peru to eradicate the fruit fly led to a 65% increase in production for the beneficiary farmers.

    All achievements and progress documented in this DEO have not been free of obstacles. The report also describes the main challenges faced and lessons learned from them.

    This helps ensure the resources invested and the work of IDB’s employees most effectively support borrowing member countries, so that they are able to address their key development challenges and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


    About the authors:

    Arturo J. Galindo is the General Manager a.i of the IDB’s Office of Strategic Planning and Development Effectiveness and Chief of the Strategic Development Division. 

    Tracy Betts is the Chief of the Monitoring Division of the IDB’s Office of Strategic Planning and Development Effectiveness.

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