2021 Evaluation of Aid Evaluation

Objectives and Mechanisms: What do Evaluations Say About the Effectiveness of Swedish Development Interventions?

Markus Burman

The purpose of this study (also available in Swedish with the title Målbild och mekanism: Vad säger utvärderingar om svenska biståndsinsatsers måluppfyllelse?) is to examine what recent evaluations say – and can say – about effectiveness of Sida’s aid interventions, and therefore about Swedish aid. This is done of the basis of the definition of effectiveness used by Sida with reference to the OECD/DAC criteria for the evaluation of development assistance.

Main conclusions:

  • The Sida evaluations of Swedish aid usually draw the conclusion that the intervention (mainly) achieves its objectives.
  • In general, their conclusions about effectiveness are probably not reliable.
  • For the future, Sida should for example:
    – Considerably strenghten the quality of the decentralised evaluations regarding evaluation design and methodology for analysing effectiveness and expected results.
    – Evaluate more Swedish development interventions against overall, long-term goals.
    – Have evaluations focus more on unexpected results and possible side effects of interventions.
  • In the future the evaluations should focus more on goal attainment and expected outcomes, and on trying to understand how and why interventions do (not) reach their objectives.