Not long ago, ‘research’ was a dirty word in international-development circles. The prevailing view was that the time and money available should be spent implementing aid projects rather than analysing their effects in detail. For most projects, assessment was limited to tracking how much they spent and whether they reached their end points.
That is now beginning to change. In recent months, studies have rigorously assessed aid projects such as farmer-training efforts and intestinal-worm-treatment programmes. These studies reflect a more analytical mindset that has emerged in the development community over the past decade, spurred by the need to assure weary donors that their investments are paying off. Drawing on methods used in clinical studies, the analyses could help to guide policy — but they are also raising fears that programmes could be axed prematurely if initial results are disappointing.
Nature | News
International aid projects come under the microscope
Clinical-research techniques deployed to assess effectiveness of aid initiatives.
23 January 2013