Evaluation Design for Complex Global Initiatives – Workshop Summary


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Every year, billions of dollars are spent on large-scale, multi-national global health initiatives. These initiatives encompass multiple types of interventions, programs, and systems-strengthening efforts. They are implemented in varied settings within partner countries through a large number of diverse, multisectoral governmental and non-governmental partners. Evaluations that examine the links between program activities and desired outcomes are used to assess whether these initiatives are achieving their objectives. These evaluations, like the initiatives being evaluated, require complex designs to be successful.

On January 7–8, 2014, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) held a workshop to explore examples of recent evaluation experiences that have drawn on an array of available methodologies applied in different ways to evaluate health and development initiatives. The workshop was an opportunity to reflect on the relative benefits and limitations of different evaluation design options that can be used within the context of a large-scale, complex initiative to reach credible conclusions and recommendations and to improve the implementation and performance of the evaluated initiative. This document summarizes the workshop.