MFS II is the 2011-2015 grant framework of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Dutch NGOs, which is directed at achieving a sustainable reduction in poverty. For the external evaluation of the grants, eight country studies, including Ethiopia, were defined and put out to tender though the Dutch Science Council (NWO-WOTRO). The focus of the country evaluation is on the Southern partners of the Dutch NGOs concerned and on pre-selected projects aimed at the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals and the Dutch policy themes fragile states and good governance. The evaluation comprises a baseline assessment between April and September 2012 and a follow-up assessment between April and August 2014. The evaluation will give a representative picture of changes in the project beneficiaries, a comparable control group, and the capacities of the Southern partner organizations. In addition, the evaluation will assess efforts to strengthen civil society. The research team will use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods.
We will analyze 13 projects on achievement of Millennium Development Goals, 9 projects concerning capacity development of Southern partner organizations and 9 projects on their contribution to civil society.
The research will be done by a collaboration of senior and junior researchers from two universities in the Netherlands - the University of Groningen and Wageningen University - and from IFPRI-Addis Ababa (ESARO). The CDI, Centre for Development Innovation, of Wageningen University & Resaerch Centre, will be involved with the capacity building and civil society studies.
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 with whom they have collaborated. We will focus on estimating causal effects where possible, and complement this with research that assesses questions of attribution using qualitative techniques. We propose to use a variety of quantitative and qualitative instruments, including surveys, mapping tools, stakeholder interviews, focus group discussions, force field analysis in terms of assessing capacity development of the Southern partner organizations. We will underpin the causal effects of the evaluation by a theory of change. If projects are about to end, we aim to evaluate the sustainability of the project. In order to determine changes in attitudes and other hard-to-measure variables we will include, where possible, behavioral games (e.g. trust- dictator ? public goods and market games) and randomized (sub) interventions (e.g. additional training) to test predictions that result from economic theories. The results of the evaluation will be important for future development interventions.