[Featured Resource] Improving Development Aid Design and Evaluation

This week’s highlighted resource is titled “Improving Development Aid Design and Evaluation: Plan for Sailboats, Not Trains” and comes to us from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. This report was mentioned during and ties into the Carnegie Endowment event, Can Legal Aid Change Power Dynamics? Experiences from India, Sierra Leone, and Elsewhere, which featured @sonkitaconteh, @manjumenon, and @vivekmaru as speakers. The report examines how we currently measure the impact of development projects and sets out new recommendations to implement effective reform.

More on Improving Development Aid Design and Evaluation: Plan for Sailboats, Not Trains:

The development field increasingly looks to sophisticated metrics to measure impact. Simultaneously, practitioners are recognizing that most development programs must engage with politics and policy. Unfortunately, the measurement techniques gaining popularity are those least able to determine how to implement political reforms.

Effective reform efforts require planning for and measuring change that is nonlinear and non-incremental. Complexity, or systems, theory offers insights for improving program design and evaluation.

You can access this resource in our library at the following link:

As always, please let us know your thoughts on this resource or if you have any questions for the author by commenting below.


The Featured Resource is a short profile of a key resource found in the resource library of the Global Legal Empowerment Network. These resources can be older or brand new, but they all touch on important themes within legal empowerment. If you have a resource you would like to profile with the network, upload it directly at this link or email it to community@namati.org.

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a very interesting topic, one of the reasons why smaller organizations are failed to secure external funding is that the global metrics of measuring change are not necessarily applicable to certain community contexts especially in subSaharan Africa where most partners refer to large scale and complex metrics. This is a good example to inform all stakeholders that we should embark on isolated metrics which are extinct and applicable in local contexts before being excited to hear the explicit…

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