Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
Giel Ton is a Research Fellow at IDS, University of Sussex, and Director of the Centre for Development Impact (CDI). He specialises in the design of mixed-methods impact evaluations in private sector development programmes. He promotes contribution analysis as an overarching approach of theory-based evaluation and a stepwise process to identify the hotspots where additional data collection and reflection are needed. He has a special interest in the effectiveness of programmes that aim to improve governance and coordination in agricultural value chains and empower smallholder farmers in collective action.
Technology and Innovation group at WUR
Sietze Vellema is Associate Professor in the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation group at WUR. He leads Action Research with the 2SCALE programme at the PrC, based at the Rotterdam School of Management and is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Frugal Innovation, both at the Erasmus University, the Netherlands. Sietze is editor-in-chief of the interdisciplinary journal NJAS: Impact in Agricultural and Life Sciences. He is involved in integrative studies that aim to understand why and how different actors collaborate in solving organisational, managerial, and technical problems related to inclusive development and sustainable food provision, based on (Action) Research in Africa and Southeast Asia.
Published: February 3, 2022
The private sector has become an important partner in development interventions that aim to make market systems more favourable for smallholders and low-income consumers of food. How to evaluate these inclusive business programmes is the central theme of this IDS Bulletin. It presents real-world experiences of practitioners and academics using theory-based evaluation.
This introductory article highlights the approaches and methods used to assess systemic change and provide learning for adaptive management. It acknowledges the limits to attributing outcomes to programmes alone and proposes a way to generalise about effectiveness where outcomes are highly contingent on a specific contextual embedding. The article explores the synergy of the iterative reflections on the theory of change, the analytical approach of realist evaluation, and the conceptualisation of changes in firms’ practices as emerging from behaviour systems where the motivations, opportunities, and capabilities of firms are not equally distributed.