It is aid’s lot to be a strange amalgam of certainty and doubt. Certainty in the claims splashed across the websites of aid donors, in the brochures of NGOs, and in the speeches of politicians. Doubt in the minds of actual aid workers. It’s not that aid doesn’t work (sometimes it does, remarkably well), it’s that too often, for any individual aid activity, too little will be known about how well it worked and why. With absolute disasters and spectacular successes the answers are clear enough. But a lot of aid work lies between these extremes. And not knowing means not learning, and not improving.
There’s an obvious solution to all this: evaluation. Read the rest of this post here at the Devpolicy Blog.