Disruptive technologies, rapid evaluation and evaluating vaccination – what we’re reading in May

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How prepared is the World Bank Group to leverage the opportunities and mitigate the risks of disruptive and transformative technologies?

In this piece, Soniya Carvalho, Stephan R. Wegner, Mitko Grigorov and Breda Griffith provide a useful update on the application of emergent technologies to the field of evaluation. The blog, which summarises a recent publication on the same topic, makes clear the contribution that astute deployment of disruptive technologies can make and gives examples of ways the World Bank is taking these up.  However, the blog goes into detail on opportunities for improvement at the Bank and elsewhere in the sector, remarking on the misalignment between the overall strategic objectives of development, the absence of appropriate skills and mindsets among personnel, familiar but persistent issues of procurement and a general institutional risk aversion.


All eyes on immunization: what do we know about effective vaccination campaigns?

Amidst the highly politicised struggle to define the narrative of vaccine success or failure around the world, this short blog offers a valuable insight into efforts to objectively evaluate vaccination campaigns.  In this case, it focuses on 3ie’s immunization evidence program and its study of community engagement as a means of unlocking vaccination uptake in low and middle income countries.  Surprisingly, we find relatively little mention of historical vaccination campaigns in public discourse and this blog attempts to fill that gap somewhat with generalisable conclusions from its studies into the use of incentives, outreach and other strategies.  It highlights a lack of evidence but also presents insights that later evolved into government policy.


Rapid Evaluation

In this article, Eleanor Williams, the Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Research Evidence at the Victorian Department of Health, provides a useful overview of rapid evaluations, which could hardly be more topical in the era of coronavirus.  Along with a review of the history of the practice, Williams looks at the often-confusing technical terminology surrounding rapid methods.  While leaving open discussions on what constitutes evidence sufficient to inform time-pressured decision making, the blog explores the appropriate circumstances for and expected outputs from a rapid evaluation.


Five Ways to Continue Closing Gender Gaps

Continuing the EES’s spotlight on gender in evaluation, we enjoyed reading this piece from the IEG’s Yumeka Hirano on the topic.  The article outlines concrete steps that organisations and projects can undertake to accelerate gender mainstreaming: integrating gender perspective in country programs; building consensus through analytical work; relatedly, ensuring the availability of data; unhesitating emphasis on institutional reform; and, conducting M&E with sex disaggregated indicators.  The blog usefully illustrates its points with evidence from recent IEG evaluation work in Albania and Rwanda.


How do you know if a program is ready for evaluation?

The publication of #EvalTuesdayTip by Khulisa management services is a laudable initiative, especially for young and emerging evaluators keen on training opportunities.  This short addition spotlights “evaluability” – how suitable a project is for evaluation – but previous blogs tips have included cognitive bias, data cleaning and mentoring.