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Doing the right things and doing things right

IFAD is committed to conducting impact assessments on 15 per cent of its project portfolio. The projects are selected for impact assessments in an attempt to be representative of IFAD's overall portfolio. This allows IFAD to report on the corporate impacts of its operations making it the only international financial institution that reports impact at the corporate level. 

Findings of impact assessments are also used to learn lessons that inform decision-making. The impact assessments are designed in close collaboration with local stakeholders and government counterparts to ensure relevant lessons are learned. As part of the impact assessments, IFAD collects both quantitative and qualitative data to draw out richer lessons.

What is impact assessment?

Impact assessment is an approach to evaluate whether observed changes in outcomes among project target groups can be attributed to development projects. Simply comparing areas with and without projects or comparing indicators before and after projects often fails to account for factors that may contribute to observed changes such as economic factors, natural disasters or conflicts. IFAD's impact assessments are designed to measure the attributable impact of its projects, as part of the Development Effectiveness Framework. Read Effective rural development: IFAD’s evidence-based approach to managing for results for more information.     

Our impact assessments around the world

impact assessment map

View the impact assessments BangladeshBolivia | Chad | China | Ethiopia | IndonesiaKenyaMadagascarMexico| Nepal | Philippines | Rwanda | Sao Tomé and Príncipe | SenegalTanzaniaTajikistan | 

IFAD's impact assessment cycle

IFAD's project-level impact assessments follow a standardized management system implemented with project teams and national stakeholders. This standardization ensures comparability across projects and countries along the entire impact assessment cycle, while allowing them to be contextualized depending on country and project circumstances. This system, together with an analysis protocol, are crucial for research transparency, data sharing, aggregating impact estimates and projecting the estimates to IFAD's project portfolio.

The impact assessment cycle starts with a scoping visit by IFAD’s Research and Impact Assessment division to deliver training on the impact assessment methodologies with country teams and the project staff. The project's theory of change is developed, key indicators listed and policy-relevant research questions formulated. Following this visit an impact assessment plan is prepared to describe the strategy and steps to conduct the impact assessment.

To ensure high quality and consistent data collection activities across projects and countries, a trusted local data collection company is recruited. Researchers then work with external partners to ensure consistent survey instruments (both quantitative and qualitative) impact assessments. Standardized templates of household and community questionnaires, and semi-structured interview topics are developed through this process. IFAD has also collaborated with the World Bank to develop a standardized data collection system by using tablets to conduct computer-assisted personal interviews following standardized survey questionnaire templates and interview topics.

A standardized data management and analysis protocol is followed to ensure that the steps to conduct empirical analyses are consistent and comparable across projects and countries. This protocol is used to clean, process, and analyse data collected from household and community surveys as well as semi-structured interviews.

Bridging the gap between research and policy is a priority for IFAD. Upon closing impact assessments, a feedback seminar is held to discuss results with policy makers, project partners and other stakeholders.

Related publications

Effective rural development: IFAD’s evidence-based approach to managing for results

July 2018
This report reflects IFAD’s ongoing efforts to generate evidence to inform decision-making at the corporate and project level.

Research Series Issue 31 - Impact of modern irrigation on household production and welfare outcomes

October 2018
Investments in irrigation systems have been shown to substantially improve farmers’ productivity, and thus alleviate poverty. This study provides an example of such an investment: the Participatory Small-Scale Irrigation Development Programme. 

Project impact assessments

Impact assessment: The Coastal Community Development (CCDP)

August 2019
The Coastal Community Development Project (CCDP), implemented between 2013 and 2017, was designed to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable economic growth in 12 coastal districts of Indonesia.

Impact assessment: PAPAFPA and PAPAC

April 2019
The Participatory Smallholder Agriculture and Artisanal Fisheries Development Programme (PAPAFPA) and the Smallholder Commercial Agriculture Project (PAPAC) are complementary projects designed to improve the livelihoods of smallholders in Sao Tomé and Príncipe. PAPAFPA, which has now closed, created farmers’ cooperatives to improve the development of organic cacao, coffee, and pepper value chains through increased commercialization in domestic and niche export markets.

Impact assessment: Coastal Climate Resilient Infrastructure Project (CCRIP)

April 2019
Farmers in southwestern Bangladesh, an area prone to natural disasters, are sometimes unable to reach community markets in the monsoon season.