We propose to use as rigorous as possible impact evaluation techniques to assess the contribution of (1) the selected projects on their beneficiary populations, (2) the Dutch MSF organization on the capacity of the selected southern partners and (3) the selected southern partner organizations on the civil society organizations they have collaborated with. We will focus on estimating causal effects where possible, and complement this with research that adequately addresses questions of attribution using qualitative techniques. We propose to use a variety of instruments, including surveys, secondary data sources, focus groups and artefactual experiments.
The core project team consists upon members from the Development Economics Group at Wageningen University and the University of Liberia. The main applicant (Professor Bulte) is highly qualified when it comes to impact evaluations in Sub-Saharan Africa and has experience in conducting research in challenging post-conflict settings. During research visits to Liberia in the past, we have established valuable contacts with staff and students from the University of Liberia. Several staff members (listed as researchers) will help design the study for the rural Liberian context, while students and/or recent graduates will act as consultants and facilitate the implementation and help collecting the data. The Dutch post-doc has experience in conducting impact evaluations in Liberia and will support the quantitative data collection and analysis, in addition to managing the project. The Centre for Development Innovation (CDI) and an acting consultant from the Africa Study Centre will conduct the evaluation for capacity development and efforts to strengthen civil society.