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Evaluating Peacebuilding Activities in Settings of Conflict and Fragility

Improving Learning for Results

image of Evaluating Peacebuilding Activities in Settings of Conflict and Fragility

Recognising a need for better, tailored approaches to learning and accountability in conflict settings, the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) launched an initiative to develop guidance on evaluating conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities.  The objective of this process has been to help improve evaluation practice and thereby support the broader community of experts and implementing organisations to enhance the quality of conflict prevention and peacebuilding interventions. It also seeks to guide policy makers, field and desk officers, and country partners towards a better understanding of the role and utility of evaluations. The guidance  presented in this book provides background on key policy issues affecting donor engagement in settings of conflict and fragility and introduces some of the challenges to evaluation particular to these settings. It then provides step-by-step guidance on the core steps in planning, carrying out and learning from evaluation, as well as some basic principles on programme design and management.

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Conceptual background and the need for improved approaches in situations of conflict and fragility

Chapter 1 outlines the conceptual background to working in settings of conflict and fragility. Arguing that such settings require a deep understanding of context and conflict, the chapter first seeks to characterise fragile and conflict-affected situations. It then looks at the purpose and goals of external engagement and describes, based on recent evaluations, how development assistance sometimes misses its targets and can even “do harm” when international partners have not sufficiently understood and adapted to the real context-specific drivers of peace and conflict. It is suggested that better conflict analysis and clearer targeting, together with more explicit and tested theories of change and results-based management can contribute to improving the knowledge base for development assistance programmes and facilitate evaluation.

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