Accepted Paper:

Impact evaluation of capacity strengthening or strengthening capacity in evaluating impact? Experiences with using the QuIP in East and Southern Africa  


James Copestake (University of Bath)

Paper short abstract:

The paper reflects on two experiences of using the Qualitative Impact Protocol to evaluate health sector capacity building programmes. It then turns to opportunities and constraints to building local capacity to commission and conduct credible impact evaluations of externally sponsored programmes.

Paper long abstract:

The Qualitative Impact Protocol (QuIP) has been designed and commercially tested to collect, code and synthesise rich narrative feedback from the intended beneficiaries of multi-faceted development interventions in complex contexts. This paper is grounded in two experiences of using it to assess capacity-building projects in the health sector. The first generated evidence on how international volunteer health educators affected students' learning experiences in medical and nursing colleges in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. The second focused on graduate midwives' experiences of transitioning from study to professional practice in Uganda. The paper partly reflects on technical methodological lessons learnt from these and other experiences with the QuIP, but more importantly on its ambiguous potential to foster both political deliberation and legitimation of existing stakeholder power relations within capacity building programmes. Moving beyond these specific case studies, the paper reflects on opportunities and constraints to strengthening within-country circuits of accountability for the performance of internationally sponsored capacity building projects. This is partly about supply: how to strengthen locally-rooted impact evaluation research, consulting and commissioning capacity. More important, however, are questions about governance and the readiness of international donors to support within-country evaluation systems and cultures.

Panel D3
How do we know it works? Exploring methods for evaluating the impact of capacity strengthening in international development