Further contributions  to this list are welcome (linked documents, or the documents themselves). Please use the Comment facility below, or email rick at

Meeting: Complexity and evaluation

Date: 15th April 2009
Venue: Diana Memorial Fund offices on the South Bank, London

Dear All,

The next event in the ongoing series exploring how complexity is useful
in the aid and development sectors will focus on evaluation. The meeting will be hosted by Panos London on Wednesday April 15th (9am-5pm) at the Diana Memorial Fund offices on the South Bank.

Building on the previous sessions which have focused on the background and theoretical roots of complexity, we will have a brief introduction to some of the key issues and implications for evaluation approaches that attempt to address the complex nature of aid and development.
Continue reading “Meeting: Complexity and evaluation”

Complexity in Aid Workshop series: Strategy in a complex world

Date: January 14, 2009, all day (9-5)
Venue: CAFOD offices in London (Stockwell).

The world is becoming increasingly inter-related, complex and fast-changing and yet many organisations continue to use traditional methods for strategy development, organisation change and leadership – even when they have questionable success. Why is this? What has to happen for strategists and policy makers to give up on behaving as if the world is predictable, measurable controllable? And what should be done instead?

In this latest workshop of the emerging community on “Complexity in Aid” we will review the paradox of complexity and see what it means for organisational and strategic approaches; we will consider how to get people engaged in these ideas and what complexity thinking implies for practice.

The workshop will be led by Dr Jean Boulton. Jean has a PhD in physics and designed and led the teaching on complexity for several years at Cranfield School of Management; she now teaches complexity on the MSc in Responsible Business Practice at Bath School of Management and works
with organisations in the areas of strategy and organisation change; she is currently co-authoring a book, ‘Embracing Complexity’, with Professor Peter Allen, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2009. See

There will be plenty of opportunity during the workshop for discussion and consideration of how these ideas challenge current methods of strategic planning and implementation; we will look at the balance between the formal and informal, the espoused and the actual.
With this is mind, you might like to consider the following questions:
*       How is strategy developed in your organisation? To what extent does it shape practice? How do you know?
*       What ways, formal or informal, global or local, really impact on what actually is done by your organisation? What, in practice, has most influence on the  direction the organisation travels?

Places are limited. If you would like to attend please email

Annual Praxis Commune on Participatory Development

Date: 19th – 28th August, 2008
Venue: KILA Campus, Thrissur (Kerala), India

This residential workshop acts as a forum for participants from across the world to come together for reflection and learning. It provides both, a theoretical understanding of participatory approaches/tools as well as the opportunity to apply them in the field. The ten days include general and specific module based theory, three days in various rural, peri-urban and urban field settings, as appropriate to the module content and finally a sharing, reflection and feedback session. Continue reading “Annual Praxis Commune on Participatory Development”

Event: Navigating Complexity – An innovation dialogue

Date: May 26-27, 2008
Venue: Wageningen International, Netherlands.

[Ten presentations given at this event are now available online]

What does complexity thinking mean for development interventions? This innovation dialogue offers a unique opportunity for exploring how emerging insights from the complexity sciences and systems thinking, combined with field practice, could reshape assumptions about the design, monitoring and evaluation of development work. What does it mean to shift from compliance with external standards to investing in capacities for navigating complexity? Continue reading “Event: Navigating Complexity – An innovation dialogue”

Two MSC workshops: for first time and experienced users

Date: 24-28 November 2008
Venue: New Delhi – India

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We would like to inform you of the following forthcoming, PRAXIS-promoted training workshops:

  • Innovations in the use of the “Most Significant Change” (MSC) Technique. REVIEW WORKSHOP: For Experienced Users. 24-25 November 2008, New Delhi – India. More info
  • The “Most Significant Change” (MSC) Technique. TRAINING WORKSHOP: For first time users 27-28 November 2008, New Delhi – India. More info

Rick Davies – the developer of this Participatory Monitoring & Evaluation technique – and Veronica Magar – Director of REACH – will facilitate.

If you are interested and want to pre-book your place, please, send an email to (specifying which of the two workshops you’d like to attend)

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Raffaella Catani
PRAXIS, Institute for Participatory Practices
C-75 South Extension, Part II
New Delhi 110049
Ph. (+91) 011- 41642348/51

ODI Seminar: Exploring the Science of Complexity in Aid Policy and Practice

Date: July 9th 2008
Venue: ODI, London

Dear All,

I am very pleased to be able to share with you all the agenda for the forthcoming Seminar at ODI on “Exploring the Science of Complexity in Aid Policy and Practice” (see below). [July 9th, ODI, London] The aim of this first Seminar is to bring together practitioners and researchers to discuss the key ideas of complexity thinking, and the relevance they have for those working in the international aid sector, and to identify some concrete and practical ways to take this area of work forward, both collectively and within our individual organisations.
Continue reading “ODI Seminar: Exploring the Science of Complexity in Aid Policy and Practice”

Event: Does UK development aid work?

Date: 17 July 2008
Venue: Wellcome Trust, London


3.30pm to 6.00pm (Registration from 3.00 pm) Book now – places limited!

Does British aid to poor countries work? Is the Department for International Development accountable for results? Is it a learning organization? These evaluation issues will be explored during a special event of the UKES London Network to be held on 17 July 2008.

Given tight budgetary constraints and the rapid expansion of United Kingdom funding for global poverty reduction, aid effectiveness has become an issue of salient political importance. The Independent Advisory Committee for Development Impact (IADCI) was established in November 2007 by the Secretary of State for International Development.
Continue reading “Event: Does UK development aid work?”

Workshop: Standards & Practices in Evaluating Development

Date: August 3-8, 2008
Venue: University of Bamako, Mali

Organizer: Association pour la Promotion de l’Evaluation au Mali (APEM) – Bamako – Mali

Mamadou Keita – President (mkeita@delta-

Workshop Coordinator: Ahmed Ag Aboubacrine, DME Coordinator, CARE International in Sierra Leone,

ahmed1996@yahoo. fr

This event is part of the 5th Mali Symposium on Applied Sciences, to be held at the University of Bamako from August 3-8, 2008.


Monitoring and evaluation of development intervention and policies’ implementation has become an absolute necessity after the setting of international norms of evaluation practices by donors as well as private sector, governments and local constituencies.

Evaluation has not become only a cross-cutting academic area (studied and subject of scientific researches) but also a basic requirement in almost all sectors: health, education, finance, infrastructure, social, agriculture, livestock, water and sanitation, urban planning, habitat, HIV/AIDS, transport, gender, corruption, governance.

Besides the standards set by independent organizations such as African Evaluation Association ( and also IDEAS (http://www. ideas-int. org/ ); there are other specific evaluation mechanisms:

* African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)

* Governance Index of Mo Ibrahim foundation

* Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS) National Evaluation Mechanisms supported by World Bank, African Development Bank, UNDP and other UN agencies.

Each of the above mentioned organizations has its norms and standards in monitoring and evaluation which are most of them very similar.

This mini-symposium objective is to promote monitoring and evaluation practices in Mali in order to ensure the effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and impact of development interventions undertaken by the state, local constituencies, donors, NGOs and private sector.

The specific objectives are three:

* Sharing of existing evaluation standards (state-of-art)

* Exchanging on current practices of evaluation in Mali

* Finding out the strategies for generalization / institutionalization of evaluation practice by state actors

Submission of papers

Papers should be submitted in an A4 format and should not exceed four pages. All papers related to the standards and practices of evaluation in any area could be accepted.

For more details, visit our website:

http://www.msas. maliwatch. org/msas2008/ msas2008_ 018.html

Round Table on Impact Evaluation: meeting and online

The two days gathering entittled Mapping the Measures of Success: An Expert Round Table on Impact Evaluation for Strengthening Governance of WASH Services has been officially opened. This gathering and online discussion will be held until Wednesday 14 of May -2008. IRC will send a hard copy of the Thematic Overview Paper produced using the inputs from this event to the active participants of the Online Discussion.

The purpose of the Round Table is to map the existing knowledge, practices, experiences and challenges related to evaluating the impact of development interventions in the context of governance of WASH services.


This event will bring together around 30 experts (by invitation) from different organisations and sectors (universities, (I)NGOs, water sector implementing agencies, resource centres as well as representatives of government and financial agencies) to share knowledge, experience and ideas through a round table platform. Through this facilitated learning and sharing event, the organisers seek to give voice to different perspectives on the following topics:

1. Why do we do impact evaluation? Who is the consumer of impact evaluation results and for what purpose do they need the information?
2. What are the main challenges when trying to identify and measure impact of an intervention focusing on development or institutional change?
3. What can be defined as meaningful ‘measures of success’ or indicators of a project that seeks to strengthen local governance?
4. What can be defined as suitable methods of a project that seeks to strengthen local governance?
5. What limitations and gaps exist in the current impact evaluation discourse?

Online discussion

In order to enable the participation of interested parties not in attendance, a facilitated discussion will also be conducted online through a dedicated blog. Through this it will be possible to comment on the ongoing discussion and access the materials and proceedings related to this event. For more information: Deirdre Casella, e-mail, or Sandra Segura, e-mail.

%d bloggers like this: