Impact evaluations often come with a steep price tag, but in settings where data can be limited and where respondents and researchers alike are potentially vulnerable to a constantly changing environment, the costs of conducting them could be even greater.
Last month, a panel on impact evaluations in conflict areas, which was part of the “Making Impact Evaluation Matter” conference hosted by both the Asian Development Bank and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, tackled this subject. Organized by Jon Kurtz, director of research and learning for Mercy Corps, the four-person panel aimed to answer the question that looms large when evaluating impact in a risky environment: How does one effectively and ethically measure the impact of a program in a conflict-affected setting?
Conducting an impact evaluation in itself is challenging, but running one in a conflict-affected setting complicates the picture even further, said Juliette Seban, research and evaluation adviser for economic interventions at the International Rescue Committee.
In these contexts, it’s important to employ both quantitative and qualitative aspects to the research design and work with researchers who have a deep understanding of the conflict, Nassreena Sampaco-Baddiri, country director of Innovations for Poverty Action Philippines, emphasized.