Disjointed lines: Implementation history and development evaluations

Development evaluations take place in a historical context. Many interventions have in the past been initiated by government and other development organisations in a village (or urban low income settlement) when evaluations of a NGO project is commissioned in the "now". A key question is how to delineate impact of past interventions by other organisations on present interventions of an NGO.

While the new DAC criteria of coherence seeks to assess synergy of the project with what other donors or agencies are doing "now", the historical set of interventions by other agencies is not covered under this criteria. To give a few examples check dams were built through a government-NGO collaboration 20 years back in a watershed in Tamil Nadu, India. This increased water levels in the area. After 18 years another NGO came and introduced new agriculture technologies. These technologies work only because of the 20 year old checkdam (maintained by a committee), but this contribution is not accounted in the evaluation. The same initiative in an non-check dam area may not work.

Yet another example is the case of a Dalit woman who secured a house on her name 15 years back under the erstwhile Indira Awaz Yozana (housing scheme). Earlier she was living in a rented house, and not allowed to tie milch animals in the homestead as it gets dirty. Now Nabfin (subsidiary of National Bank for Agriculture and Rurla Development) gives her a loan for purchase of milch animals, with the approval of her self group (and NGO). Not all the income generated is due to present intervention.

Development evaluations need to capture history of other development intervention to village and with each beneficiary to delineate what is a cumulative contribution and their own contribution!

Cross posted from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/disjointed-lines-implementation-hist...

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Comment by Pallavi Sobti Rajpal on October 28, 2022 at 11:20

An extremely important aspect to look at while looking at Impact. 

In fact it is not only on how to delineate impact of past interventions by other organisations on present interventions of an NGO but also of past interventions/complementing interventions of the same NGO in a particular location/geography. 

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