A new learning partnership for inclusive governance

CARE International recently entered into a partnership with Pamoja Evaluation Services for an exciting new learning partnership, known as the Halcrow Project. The purpose of the learning partnership is to build on CARE’s substantial expertise in inclusive governance programming by better capturing its effects through a strengthened approach to monitoring and evaluation. Therefore, the Partnership will seek to produce credible and rigorous evaluations that can speak directly to CARE’s contribution to observed changes in contexts where inclusive governance work is taking place.

To help CARE realise its ambition to better capture the effects and contribution of its work in inclusive governance, Pamoja is supporting CARE to apply the cutting-edge evaluation approach of Contribution Tracing as an organising framework. Two of CARE's country offices in Ghana and Bangladesh are taking part in the project, due to the extensive inclusive governance work they deliver. This will provide us with an ideal learning opportunity for an evaluation that applies Contribution Tracing.

Debates in the evaluation practitioner and academic spaces, and our own in-depth literature review, strongly indicates that randomised approaches are, by themselves, not a solution to the challenges of measuring inclusive governance. While we have very many positive outcomes measured for inclusive governance work, there is very little documentation on impact. Therefore, we are facing an evidence challenge in which we can seek new opportunities to test and implement innovative approaches such as Contribution Tracing, to enhance this knowledge base and fill our evidence gaps around the impact of inclusive governance.

Contribution Tracing is based on the principles of Process Tracing and Bayesian (Confidence) Updating. This approach offers practitioners clear guidance on what data to collect. It has been designed to support the formulation and validation of a ‘contribution claim’ about the role played by an intervention to determine if outcomes of interest are realised. It then measures how much particular items of evidence increase or decrease confidence in relation to a specific contribution claim. This process will support CARE’s inclusive governance programmes to design a system which focuses on gathering the ‘right’ data, thereby using resources for monitoring and evaluation more efficiently.

Contribution Tracing forces evaluators to think – in great detail – about how and why a particular change has come about as a result of a project. Through this evaluative pilot process, we will identify what works and where gaps exist in the way the team has been monitoring and documenting change.

Under this exciting new initiative, a group of staff from Ghana and Bangladesh are working collaboratively with Pamoja until the end of this year. By challenging practices and assumptions, and using new ways of thinking about evidence - offered by Contribution Tracing - we aim to demonstrate CARE's unique contribution to transformation in the inclusive governance space. We are confident this approach will help CARE to unpack the nature of social accountability in this context and better articulate the role that CARE and its partners have played in delivering impact to citizens.