Analyzing and Improving the Evaluation of Local Development Projects

Client: United Nations Capital Development Fund
Faculty: Paul Smoke and David Winder
Team: Ame Esangbedo, Sarah Nagadya, Sylvia Reimers, Bryan Seck
Year: 2009
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) seeks to reduce poverty in Least Developed Countries (LDC) through local development programs combining investment capital, capacity building, and technical advisory services. Its approach emphasizes government decentralization and local pilot projects. High quality evaluations are crucial for UNCDF to understand the effectiveness of innovative strategies employed in pilot projects and the merits of scaling them up. The organization's evaluation framework must be flexible and nuanced to capture the contextual differences of interventions in diverse countries around the world, yet also standardized to facilitate comparisons. The Capstone team created a framework to carefully analyze eight evaluations completed in 2007 and reviewed existing evaluation manuals and guidelines. The team produced conceptual structures, diagrams, and recommendations to assist UNCDF in further improving its evaluations in the future.