Balancing Inclusiveness, Rigour and Feasibility: Insights from Participatory Impact Evaluations in Ghana and Vietnam
Van Hemelrijck, A
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This paper by Adinda Van Hemelrijck and Irene Guijt explores how impact evaluation can live up to standards broader than statistical rigour in ways that address challenges of complexity and enable stakeholders to engage meaningfully. A Participatory Impact Assessment and Learning Approach (PIALA) was piloted to assess and debate the impacts on rural poverty of two government programmes in Vietnam and Ghana funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). We discuss the trade-offs between rigour, inclusiveness and feasibility encountered in these two pilots. Trade-offs occur in every impact evaluation aiming for more than reductionist rigour, but the pilots suggest that they can be reduced by building sufficient research and learning capacity.