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 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.

Markus Burman, Programme Manager, The Expert Group for Aid Studies