Research & Evaluation

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At AVSI, we recognize that evaluation is one of the necessary tools to translate our experience into knowledge and growth, ensuring that the resources entrusted to us, both human and material, can live up to their full potential. Convinced of the transformation we have seen with our own eyes in the families and communities with whom we have worked for over 40 years, we are committed to applying the latest scientific tools to better document and share methods that work.

 

In the dynamic realities in which we work, we find Monitoring and Evaluation is not a matter of taking ready-made forms and ‘checking off boxes’. The purpose of our projects cannot be limited to resolving a specific problem, though this may be easy to measure, but rather is to enable men and women to live out the full stature of a human person. We have observed that this is the result of an educational path, and is documented in by the increasing ability to face reality and to work toward an ideal for their lives.

 

So, the first question we ask ourselves is how can we measure this change?

To find our ultimate criterion for any decision, we look at the people who are the driving force behind all our projects. Research, then, is an opportunity for us to better understand the reality in which we live and work. Quantitative measures can be powerful tools to inform decisions, but they must be carefully considered alongside qualitative measures, otherwise we risk cutting out a part of the picture. Sustainable, long-term change depends on human freedom and relationships, and measuring it requires the flexibility and well-roundedness of human intelligence that strives to take every factor into account.

 

The second difficult question is what has made this change possible?

Evaluations are increasingly used not only to verify the progress of work done, but many, as is especially clear in the case of randomized control trials, have as their primary goal to find models to scale up or replicate in other contexts. The risk in proposing the inputs or ingredients of a ‘perfect model’ is that we forget the human factor. It is not enough to study the technical conditions of a good practice, because every strategy or technique must be put into action, not by robots, but only through the involvement of individual persons, be they the “leaders” or the “recipients” of a project. We cannot forget the hard to measure, but decisive conditions that determine the success or failure of a project: the capacity to creatively face reality, the relationships and culture of each person involved, and the free commitment of individuals. Development is not fundamentally a question of money or techniques or theories, but rather of a human person at work with his/her reason and freedom.

 

Partnerships

In the continued effort to enhance our research methods, we are seeking to build partnerships with individual researchers, research centers and universities. A few of the institutions with whom we have worked are:

  • The Foundation for Subsidiarity, Milan
  • The Catholic University of Milan
  • Innovations for Poverty Action

AVSI Resources related to Research & Evaluation

  •  OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) Project Final Evaluation

Evaluation reports from the longitudinal study of the beneficiaries and partner organizations involved in the implementation of the USAID-funded project "Increased Support to Orphans and Vulnerable Children in East Africa" in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda from 2005-2010. 

- Survey on Children's Well-Being (Full Report) (Executive Summary)

- Survey on Organizational Capacity of Partners (Full Report) (Executive Summary)

  • WINGS (Women's INcome Generating Support) Program and Impact Evaluation

- Photo Essay profiling the program and some of the beneficiaries 

- Market Study completed in July 2009

- Midterm Update- summary slides as presented in Spring 2012 (Read more here)

Project Presentation - compiled by AVSI Uganda

Midline Evaluation Results* - preliminary presentation given by Innovations for Poverty Action

- Final Results

Brief Policy Note

Full Policy Report

  • Primary Education in Uganda Impact Evaluation

Evaluation of changes in child well-being and future opportunities for primary students as a result of AVSI's educational programming in Kitgum and Gulu, Uganda, from October 2008 - October 2011 with funding from Fondazioni 4 Africa and Fondazione de Agostini.

- Impact Evaluation of AVSI education program (Full Report)

  • Primary Education in Burundi Final Evaluation

Final project evaluation “Improving the quality of life and development capacity of vulnerable households by strengthening the primary education system” in Kayanza and Ngozi provinces.

- Final evaluation of AVSI program (Full Report in Italian)

- 6-slide presentation of project results (French) (Italian)

  • Early Childhood and Family Approach to Primary Education in Ecuador

Qualitative and quantitative studies of the AEDI (Acción Educativa Integrada) program in Ecuador, including indicators for child and family outcomes.

- Full report (Spanish)

- Qualitative report (Italian)

- Quantitative report (Italian)