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The bottom line

Measurement, evaluation, and learning


The most important result for iDE is improving the lives of our customers: the rural farmers and small businesses that are among the world’s poorest. We measure our progress toward this result through an approach to monitoring and evaluation that includes a core set of key performance indicators, information management tools, and in-house research and evaluation capacity.

Big change for less

Though iDE measures multiple project level indicators, the three high-level key performance indicators for organizational and country-level performance are:

  • Scale: the number of households with which we work.
  • Impact: the average annual net household increase in both income and savings achieved by households with which we work.
  • Cost-effectiveness: the ratio of money spent by iDE relative to the aggregate increased income generated (or saved, for our WASH portfolio) by participating households estimated using a three-year rolling average.

Our promise is 10:1

We are committed to ensuring that every dollar invested by donors becomes at least $10 in added income or savings for our clients. In many of our programs, the actual cost effectiveness is more—for example, $15 for every dollar invested in Agriculture in Vietnam. Throughout this website, we report our cost effectiveness by where we work and by area of focus, where you can find individual numbers for those areas based on a three-year rolling average. This average is important in understanding and capturing the bigger picture of our work. For example, in the first year of a new program, costs can be substantially higher (and cost-effectiveness lower) because of the need to invest in marketing and training; in years two and three, the investments take hold and these start-up costs reduce, increasing cost-effectiveness. What we don’t capture—yet—is the longer term economic impact of our interventions: the result of establishing sustainable markets that remain after our program, and investments, have ended.

We are proud of a culture of rigor and transparency where the information we share is rooted in reality and is readily available to anyone. This is not just a goal, but our method of ensuring the investments—in money and time—made by our donors, the rural entrepreneurs we are working with, and the customers that they are serving are having real impact.

Samuel Azengo (on the right) and Ahmed Mubarik, iDE staff member, take a survey on the production of a new variety of sweet potato. Using mobile technology, we are able to capture real-time data more efficiently, allowing us to be more nimble within a project.

iDE PC Measurement Ghana

(Photo by Chris Nicoletti/iDE)

Informed decisions in real time

iDE is pioneering a dynamic cloud-based information system that connects every segment of our operations, from a Farm Business Advisor’s mobile phone to the Country Director’s laptop to the operations team in our Denver headquarters. This integration enables us to have real-time data upon which our cost-effectiveness, progress towards targets, and key performance indicators can be analyzed, allowing us to quickly prioritize investments that work and eliminate those that don’t.

Learning today for smarter decisions tomorrow

Our knowledge management practices capture what we’ve learned over 30 years of product design and market development. Rather than starting from scratch in each new country and program, our network of in-the-field program managers and entrepreneurial partners learn best practices from each other and use this depth of experience to inform new solutions.

Money and time are finite resources. Our emphasis on knowledge management and learning allows us to build on past successes and experience, leveraging what we already know to inform future programming. By adapting our global experience to each new country context, we can be agile in making decisions based on tactical questions, determining the best path forward, and discovering new areas to explore. This lean and nimble approach is key to our success.

Check out these recent publications from our iQ (Measurement and Evaluation) team.


Tagged: iQ

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