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Most popular Itad blogs in 2019

With 2019 drawing to a close, we say farewell to the year with a list of some of our most popular blogs.


From exploring big debates in international development to deep dives into some of our projects, these blogs give you an insight into what we’re working on and thinking about here at Itad, and we hope you enjoy reading them.

1. The complex reality of evaluation independence

An article in The Guardian back in July 2019 explored serious concerns raised in the journal BMJ Global Health about major development funders such as DFID exaggerating the impact of their programmes or ‘gagging’ evaluations when they are not as positive as expected. The article got us thinking about the importance of independence in evaluation and what ‘independence’ means in evaluation. Rob Lloyd and Emmeline Henderson outline how evaluators can operationalise independence.

2. Complex systems thinking in international development

Clients such as DFID are increasingly asking us to evaluate if and how complex groups of interventions interact to produce systemic impacts. While there is an increasing appreciation that systemic impacts are desirable, there is less consensus on what systems look like and how change in systems can be measured. Edward Hedley reflects on what complex systems thinking can add to evaluations after attending Dr Matt Egan’s (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) Keynote Lecture at the 2019 UK Evaluation Society conference.

3. Changing a Theory of Change: six important lessons from our work with iDSI

Laura Hopkins and Stefanie Wallach share their experience designing a Theory of Change (ToC). Having worked alongside the International Decision Support Initiative (iDSI) – a global network of health, policy and economic expertise working to help low & middle-income countries achieve Universal Health Coverage – on bolstering the relevance and utility of their ToC to its day-to-day work, they draw out the lessons learnt on what makes a successful change process.

4. Does adaptive programming work in fragile contexts, and why? The case of PERL in Nigeria

Do adaptive approaches help promote and strengthen Empowerment and Accountability in fragile, conflict and violence-affected settings, and if yes, how? In January 2019, Itad published a case study exploring what ‘adaptive programming’ looks like in PERL (the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn) in Nigeria. The PERL Nigeria study was second in a series of three case studies funded by DFID. Melanie Punton and Richard Burge sum up what they’ve learnt during their week in Nigeria with the PEARL team.

5. Is my social protection programme ‘shock-responsive’ or ‘adaptive’?

What is adaptive social protection? How does it differ from shock responsive social protection? Why does it matter? Alex Cornelius, Chris Béné and Fanny Howland reflect on these questions drawing on their work with governments in the Sahel to help set up their adaptive social protection programmes.

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