The Efficiency Lab

How do we work on efficiency in international development?

Anne-Marie Heemskerk & Heinz Greijn
Anne-Marie Heemskerk & Heinz Greijn
Posted in: Making Data Count
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The Efficiency Lab was established in April 2017, in response to the finding from the MFS II evaluation that development organisations, evaluators and practitioners struggle with the concept of efficiency: How to measure and analyse efficiency?

Can the same be achieved with less resources? Or can more be achieved with the same resources?

Struggling with efficiency

Efficiency analysis of development projects is often of poor quality.  This hampers the development of innovative, more cost-effective interventions. Therefore, the aim of the Efficiency Lab is twofold:

  • To develop a common understanding among development organisations (members of Partos to start with) about the concept of efficiency and the various methods for assessing efficiency, including their advantages and limitations.
  • To identify and/or develop a recommended repertoire of appropriate policies, methods and tools for addressing the efficiency question in development interventions.


Have a look at these ten cases of efficiency analysis
There are many theories on how to analyse the efficiency of a development intervention. Then again, these are just theories. What happens in the real world? In practice, it can be quite a struggle to analyse the efficiency of a certain project in difficult circumstances. That is why on 23 November 2017, Partos / The Spindle organised a conference on efficiency. The Efficiency Lab challenged three experts on to recommend what methods to use in different, practical cases. Take a look at these examples, select the one similar to your own case and find out which method or tool to use for your efficiency analysis! Read more…

Piloting a Theory of Efficiency?
The Efficiency Lab is looking for projects and programmes that are willing to embark on developing a pilot version of a so called Theory of Efficiency, and testing it in practice. Read more…

The Efficiency Lab panel of experts: Markus Palenberg (The Institute for Development Strategy in Munich, Germany), Pol de Greve (Context, international cooperation) and Antonie de Kemp (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IOB).

The Efficiency Lab Facilitators: Anne-Marie Heemskerk (Partos) and Heinz Greijn (Learning 4 Development)


Team members

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Agnès Marsan
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Anita van der Laan
Anne-Marie Heemskerk
Anne-Marie Heemskerk
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Arnold van Willigen
Woord en Daad
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Erik Boonstoppel
Oxfam Novib
Heinz Greijn
Heinz Greijn
Coordinator Learningplatform
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Jan de Vries
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Jeroen Bolhuis
Plan Nederland
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Julio C. García Martínez
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Kees Kolsteeg
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Margriet Poel
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Marieke de Vries
CNV Internationaal
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Mark Kirkels
War Child
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Simon Bailey

Working together with


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Working group on Data Informed Decision Making

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IATI and Results Reporting

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