further & higher education
voluntary sector

Demonstrating the Impact of International Development Projects

further & higher education

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:20

Thursday 19 September 2019

Events @N. 6, Central London

This Forum provides an opportunity for participants to consider the importance of evaluating the impact of international development programmes, and to be able to demonstrate this impact to current and potential donors. Policymakers and sector leaders will provide updates on key priorities in this area, particularly in light of recent reports of misconduct among the aid community, and the subsequent need to improve trust. In addition, best practice case studies will share methods for successfully embedding monitoring, learning and evaluation (MLE) into each stage of projects and programmes, developing outcome-focused theories of change, and reporting progress on these back to the donor in a timely manner that allows real-time adaptation across programmes.


This Forum is specifically designed for Development Charities, Non Governmental Organisations, Think Tanks and Research organisations. Typical job titles will include:

  • Chief Executive Officers
  • Directors
  • Development Managers
  • Research and Policy Officers
  • Programme Managers
  • Directors of Fundraising
  • Heads of Impact
  • Campaign Directors
  • Directors of Partnerships
  • Heads of Strategy
  • Professors and Lecturers in Development Studies

The Forum is also open to Higher Education, Central Government, Multilateral Organisations, Embassies and the Private Sector to encourage debate and networking.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Catherine Owens, Head of the Evaluation Unit and Head of Profession for the Government Social Research Profession, Department for International Development (DfID)
  • Sir Hugh Bayley, Commissioner, Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI)
  • Stephanie Draper, Chief Executive, Bond
  • Dr Marcella Vigneri, Research Fellow, Centre of Excellence for Development Impact and Learning (CEDIL)
  • Dr Justin Pulford, Senior Lecturer and Project Manager for the ACBI, Liverpool School Tropical Medicine
  • Dr Femi Nzegwu, Head of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) and Director of Strong and Equitable Research & Knowledge Systems (SERKS), INASP
  • Helen Stawski, Head of Policy, IRC UK
  • Anne Buffardi, Senior Research Fellow, ODI
  • Karen Sanderson, Head of Programme IFR4NPOs, CIPFA
  • Dr Maren Duvendack, Senior Lecturer in Development Economics and Member, Impact Evaluation Research Group, School of International Development, University of East Anglia
View the agenda and additional speakers

The UK government is committed to spending 0.7% GDP on official development assistance (ODA), as enshrined in law since 2015. In 2017, total ODA spend amounted to £14.4 billion. While the Economic Development Strategy outlines how money will be spent, placing focus on areas of national interest, as well as international including trade, investment and growth, there is a growing need across the sector to ensure value for money (VfM) and demonstrate this through tangible impact. This is not only the case for the Department of International Development (DfID) spending, but for funds spent through related departments including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). 

With recent reviews into DfID procurement methods and the role of the private sector in delivering aid, there has never been a greater focus on the impact that grant and project managers can deliver. There has been a prominent drive towards Payment by Results (PBR) models as donors seek to encourage demonstrable impact from the very start of project implementation, though this has caused cash-flow difficulties for smaller organisations and NGOs. In its December 2018 report on the UK’s approach to funding the UN humanitarian system, the Independent Comssision for Aid Impact (ICAI) also found that DfID has yet to establish positive performance incentives into this PBR funding of UN agencies, and is not yet able to independently verify these indicators, despite having increasingly burdensome reporting and diligence requirements.

Funders are also reconsidering key areas in need of aid, aiming to deliver for those where there is greatest opportunity for impact, which could mean issues that are more difficult to gather data around or report on miss out on much needed funding going forward.

It is vital therefore that stakeholders across the aid sector work together to improve the quality of evidence gathered across programmes, building in capacity for monitoring, learning and evaluation (MLE) from the point of proposal writing. If evidence is gathered from the inception phase, effectively reported to donors in a timely manner, and a willingness for adaptive management shown from donors and implementers, the potential for greater impact of aid could grow exponentially.

Dr Maren Duvendack, Senior Lecturer in Development Economics and Member, Impact Evaluation Research Group, School of International Development, University of East Anglia

Maren Duvendack has a PhD in development economics from the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK. Her key research areas cover applied micro-econometrics, impact evaluation, systematic reviews and meta-analysis, microfinance, women’s empowerment, and replication of quantitative analyses. After completing her PhD she joined the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC as a Postdoctoral Fellow before joining the Overseas Development Institute in London as a Research Fellow in evaluation and impact assessment. She is now a Senior Lecturer in the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia where she is mainly teaching on the MSc Impact Evaluation for International Development.

Stephanie Draper, Chief Executive, Bond

Stephanie Draper is Bond’s chief executive. Stephanie has spent over 20 years working to accelerate a just and sustainable future, with a focus on sustainable development. She brings extensive international experience of bringing sectors together to collaborate and shape a better future.

She was previously at Forum for the Future working on how to practically achieve the systems change needed to deliver the UN Global Goals. As their chief change officer and deputy CEO she shaped the sustainable nutrition, 1.5 degrees and sustainable value chains and livelihoods Labs and how organisations can deliver transformational strategies. She also created new approaches to understanding impact.

She has been instrumental in creating a number of cross sector initiatives (between business, NGOs and governments) and partnerships such as the Protein Challenge, the Sustainable Shipping Initiative and the School of Systems Change, where she is faculty. Prior to Forum Stephanie founded the Corporate Responsibility team at The Work Foundation. 

Sir Hugh Bayley, Commissioner, Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI)

Sir Hugh was the MP for York for 23 years, Minister for Social Security and a member of the Commons’ International Development Committee for 14 years. He chaired the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank, the Africa APPG and was knighted in 2015 for services to NATO and international development.

Before being elected to Parliament he created and led the International Broadcasting Trust, a charity making television programmes and publishing distance learning guides about development issues.

Sir Hugh is a Trustee of the International Rescue Committee UK, Drill 2 Drink, and a lay member of the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Dr Femi Nzegwu, Head of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) and Director of Strong and Equitable Research & Knowledge Systems (SERKS), INASP

Dr Femi Nzegwu is a senior MEL (including organisational learning) research, evaluation and institutional development specialist with 20+ years of experience specialising in learning and knowledge deployment, institutional capacity building, strategy development, programme development, and embedding monitoring, evaluation and learning frameworks to support the implementation of programmes. Her work with the public and private sector, NGOs/civil society organizations is extensive and well documented. She has worked successfully with senior government officials to implement advocacy work at the very highest levels of academia, government and civil society.

Helen Stawski, Head of Policy, IRC UK

Helen Stawski is the Head of Policy at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Europe. Leading strategic policy engagement with European Governments and civil society in line with IRC European priorities, including urban displacement, cash transfers, women’s protection and empowerment and humanitarian access.

Previous to working at the IRC, Helen has worked on a number of global processes including the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). She has lived in Uganda and worked across conflict affected contexts in East and Southern Africa.

Catherine Owens, Head of the Evaluation Unit and Head of Profession for the Government Social Research Profession, Department for International Development (DfID)

Catherine is the current Head of DFID’s Evaluation Unit and the Head of Profession for Evaluation and Government Social Research in DFID. The Evaluation unit ensures the quality of DFID’s evaluations, as well as pushing the boundaries of evaluation methodology by investing in innovative approaches. Catherine is currently on secondment from the College of Policing, the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction, where she lead on evaluation programmes for officer wellbeing, use of technology, transformational change in policing and international assistance. Catherine has had a varied career in many government departments, including the Department for Education and the Prison Service.

Marcella Vigneri, Research Officer, Centre of Excellence for Development Impact and Learning (CEDIL)

Marcella Vigneri is Research Fellow at the Centre of Excellence for Development Impact and Learning (CEDIL).  

Marcella is a development economist that applies quantitative research methods to a range of policy-relevant topics. She collaborated with IFPRI for over ten years and has previously worked for the FAO, the World Bank, and for the Overseas Development Institute in London. Marcella has had lead roles in large impact evaluation studies for Oxfam GB and for the International Cocoa Initiative.

Marcella holds a DPhil in Economics from Oxford University where she did original work based at the Centre for the Study of African Economies.

Anne Buffardi, Senior Research Fellow, ODI

Anne Buffardi, PhD is a Senior Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).  Her research focuses on policy processes, including the role of different types of evidence and stakeholder engagement in informing development policy and practice.  She has worked on multi-component, multi-site initiatives in Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia and emerging economies, predominantly on global health and governance issues.  Her work has been published in the Policy Studies Journal, Third World Quarterly, Health Policy & Planning, and Development in Practice, among others.

Dr Justin Pulford, Senior Lecturer and Project Manager for the ACBI, Liverpool School Tropical Medicine

Dr Justin Pulford is a senior lecturer in International Public Health, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), and deputy head of the Centre for Capacity Research (CCR). His current research activities focus on the design, measurement and evaluation of programmes designed to strengthen research capacity in low and middle income countries. In addition, he maintains a broad interest in implementation research designed to strengthen health systems, disease control programmes and community-based health improvement initiatives.

Karen Sanderson, Head of Programme IFR4NPOs, CIPFA

Karen has expertise in Public Sector Financial Management and standard setting for the public sector, working both in the United Kingdom and Australia and is a member of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board’s Consultative Advisory Group.

Most recently Karen was an Executive Director at the New South Wales Treasury, providing advice to support financial management decisions by government.

Whilst at HM Treasury, Karen delivered the first ever Whole of Government Accounts following the UK’s adoption of accrual accounting.

Karen has worked in a range of finance based roles in both the public and private sectors.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Dr Maren Duvendack, Senior Lecturer in Development Economics and Member, Impact Evaluation Research Group, School of International Development, University of East Anglia (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Enhancing the Capacity of NGOs to Deliver and Demonstrate Impact

  • Sharing details of the Bond Effectiveness Programme which provides civil society organisations with the tools and support required to maximise their effectiveness, developed in collaboration with over 100 UK NGOs
  • Understanding the key areas of MLE: Organisational effectiveness, programme and evidence quality, evaluation, VfM and training and peer learning
  • Highlighting the need to alter public opinion around aid and how taxpayer money is spent, and discussing methods for doing this including through more accessible reporting of impact and project outcomes through the media
  • Discussing next steps for achieving an aid regime based on solidarity, human rights, feminist principles and that addresses the root causes of poverty and inequality, following the January 2019 The Reality of Aid Report

Stephanie Draper, Chief Executive, Bond (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Maximising the Impact and Value for Money of Aid Projects Through Effective Spending

  • Outlining the role of ICAI in leading the way for aid scrutiny, ensuring that spending is conducted in a way that offers VfM as well as offering maximum benefit to those who need it most
  • Considering how suppliers can work in partnership most effectively to deliver and demonstrate the most impact, including by working with specialist researchers as well as private sector stakeholders experienced in reporting mechanisms
  • Disseminating best practice evaluation methods from ICAI’s approach to examining DfID’s wider impact, including strategic reviews that map expenditure and conduct comparative assessments
  • Considering how to identify the most relevant case studies for centrally managed programmes

Sir Hugh Bayley, Commissioner, Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Workshop: Effectively Conducting Real-Time Monitoring for Greater Project Impact

  • Discussing the benefits of real-time monitoring and on-going learning from project inception to completion, and how this concept of adaptive management can improve impact for beneficiaries as well as VfM
  • Successfully budgeting time and money for M&E throughout a project from the very first point of development, when writing the proposal
  • Evaluating the cost of adaptive management approaches in comparison to traditional MLE, and the financial impact of needing to collect more data or collecting data through different methods
  • Demonstrating how to report changing needs in M&E approaches and cost to project donors, and subsequently adapting and updating theories of change or the reporting of outputs and outcomes

Dr Femi Nzegwu, Head of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) and Director of Strong and Equitable Research & Knowledge Systems (SERKS), INASP (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Utilising an Outcomes and Evidence Framework to Design Effective Programmes

  • Outlining the key components of the Outcomes and Evidence Framework including guidance for humanitarian and development professionals on how to measure progress and build these mechanisms into programmes, with 32 outcomes across 5 themes including theories of change and indicators
  • Sharing best practice in developing effective theories of change that facilitate the achievement of realistic outcomes and regular reporting of these, as well as real-time reporting
  • Demonstrating success through outcomes rather than outputs, and how to deliver other information including contextual factors and client views to the donor when reporting these
  • Exploring how to conduct several impact evaluations to form a systematic review that can help implementers and donors better understand the impact of an intervention and how different beneficiaries are effected

Helen Stawski, Head of Policy, IRC UK (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Outlining the Government’s Vision for Enhancing the Impact of UK Aid

  • Summarising the key findings of DfID’s 2019 Evaluation Annual Report, and how evaluation evidence is being used to inform the quality and VfM of programming
  • Exploring the need for stronger impact and thematic evaluations in order to support continuing investment in UK aid post-Brexit
  • Looking to the future of DfID decision-making and how evaluating evidence, including from aid spending across other departments, will drive better delivery in line with the creation of a new Evidence Department and Evaluation Strategy

Catherine Owens, Head of the Evaluation Unit and Head of Profession for the Government Social Research Profession, Department for International Development (DfID) (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Accessing Funding to Design and Develop Innovative Monitoring and Evaluation Methods

  • Outlining the role of CEDIL in developing and testing innovative evaluation methods, with DfID grant funding, administered through LSHTM and hosted at the London International Development Centre
  • Exploring the gaps in evaluation methods across the sector that have informed the research agenda of CEDIL, including around key thematic areas including infrastructure and justice, and DfID priority countries
  • Sharing details of the funding available for research projects to contribute to the Centre’s strategic agenda in relation to evaluating complex interventions, generalising evidence through middle range theory and enhancing use and usefulness of evaluation findings
  • Understanding what DfID wants to learn to improve MLE across its programmes and projects more broadly including around where results are not context dependent and how to translate lessons from impact into policy
  • Discussing the benefits of partnering with private sector organisations to more effectively procure research and report findings to the donor

Dr Marcella Vigneri, Research Fellow, Centre of Excellence for Development Impact and Learning (CEDIL) (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Special Keynote: Measuring the ‘Hard to Measure’ in Development

  • Outlining four hard to measure dimensions of development and the specific measurement challenges of each
  • Discussing relational and political challenges and their implications for evaluating impact
  • Illustrating measurement of financial investments, policy commitments and development impact over longer time frames
  • Exploring practical ways measurement efforts could be improved

Anne Buffardi, Senior Research Fellow, ODI (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Embedding MLE into Capacity Building Programmes

  • Sharing research approaches and evaluation tools developed and published by the Unit that can be adapted for use on various projects, including to examine the impact at consortia and programme level
  • Examining various indicators used across different thematic areas, and how to translate use to other areas for more innovative evaluation
  • Developing the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Project, led by the Capacity Research Unit, and embedding this into the DfID-funded Africa Capacity Building Initiative (ACBI), with the aim of generating research-informed learning from the Initiative
  • Discussing how this learning is being used to improve the Initiative during its life span as well as contributing to the global pool of evidence on the science of research capacity strengthening through effective reporting

Dr Justin Pulford, Senior Lecturer and Project Manager for the ACBI, Liverpool School Tropical Medicine (CONFIRMED)


Closing Keynote: Effectively Demonstrating Impact Through Financial Reporting

The International Financial Reporting for Non-Profit Organizations (#IFR4NPO) initiative is a new project led jointly by Humentum and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) to develop the first ever NPO international financial reporting guidance which can command support from the accounting community and NPOs, funders and regulators.

The session will include:

  • Winning the trust of national and international stakeholders by asking what good financial reporting looks like for NPOs
  • Better meeting funders’ financial reporting requirements, saving time and administrative costs for funders and NPOs
  • Providing a basis for comparison between NPOs across jurisdictions and create a collaborative and inclusive process for reporting

Karen Sanderson, Head of Programme IFR4NPOs, CIPFA (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change


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