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. The Efficiency Lab challenged three experts to recommend what methods to use in different, practical cases.
A panel of experts consisting of 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) was invited to formulate, for ten different types of projects, recommendations concerning the most appropriate methods and tools for analysing efficiency. Below you find these cases and recommendations.
So, are you struggling with your efficiency analysis? Take a look at these examples, select the one similar to your own case and find out which method or tool to use!
- Case 1 – Value chain development: Efficiency analysis in value chain development projects
Since the turn of the century, practitioners in agricultural development shifted their attention from farming systems, with a focus on technology and productivity at farmer household level, to value chains. In addition to the introduction of new technologies to enhance productivity (the “push” factors), the value chain development approach focuses in first instance on market opportunities (the “pull” factors). Instrumental in this approach is the establishment of business linkages between farmer groups and actors downstream the value chain including, traders and processors.
This case explains how to analyse efficiency in value chain development projects.
- Case 2 – Basic education: Efficiency analysis in a pilot of an accelerated education programme
Accelerated education (AE) programmes promote access to education in an accelerated time-frame for disadvantaged groups, including over-age out-of-school children and youth who missed out or had their education interrupted due to poverty, marginalisation, conflict and crisis. The goal of AE is to provide learners with equivalent certified competencies for basic education and learning approaches that match their level of cognitive maturity.
This case explains how to analyse efficiency when piloting an AE programme in a country.
- Case 3 – Higher education: Efficiency analysis in higher education capacity building projects
Developing countries invest in higher education to develop their own capacity to acquire and generate knowledge in support of their economic and social development, and to pass on this knowledge to next generations. Donor organisations and programmes such as Nuffic, DAAD, Erasmus+ to support international collaboration between higher education institutions with the aim to strengthen the capacity of universities in low and lower-middle income countries.
This case explains how to analyse efficiency in projects aimed at capacity development in higher education.
- Case 4 – Sanitation and hygiene: Efficiency analysis in sanitation and hygiene projects
SDG 6 calls for access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all by 2030., Most sanitation projects have a strong market-oriented approach and are based on three assumptions:
– On the demand side, people’s behaviours need to be changed towards adopting improved sanitation practices
– On the supply side, a well-functioning private sector-based supply chain for sanitation products and services is a prerequisite for effective and sustainable coverage
– An enabling environment providing regulation and funding is needed to support these changes
This case explains how to analyse efficiency in sanitation and hygiene projects.
- Case 5 – Water supply: Efficiency analysis in water supply projects
SDG 6 calls for universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030. Most projects in the area of water supply have a strong market-oriented approach which is usually based on three assumptions:
– On the demand side, people’s attitudes need to be changed towards developing a willingness to pay for water supply services.
– On the supply side, a well-functioning private sector-based supply chain for water is a prerequisite for an effective and sustainable coverage
– An enabling environment providing regulation and funding is needed to support these changes.
This case explains how to analyse efficiency in water supply projects.
- Case 6 – Micro finance: Efficiency analysis in micro-finance projects
Micro-finance projects aim to help poor and excluded people to get access to financial services including loans, saving facilities, insurance and money transfer services. Micro financing has its roots in Bangladesh where in the seventies the Grameen Bank started providing micro credit to groups of excluded people. Many projects followed this example by providing micro-credit services to poor people or supporting the establishment of micro-credit schemes and institutions. Increasingly, micro finance projects tend to focus on developing the capacities of existing financial institutions to become more inclusive.
This case explains how to analyse efficiency in micro finance projects.
- Case 7 – Disability inclusion: Efficiency analysis in disability inclusion projects
People with disabilities are often unemployed. As a result, many of them live in poverty. There are several factors causing this. As people with a disability are often stigmatized and discriminated against, many do not have access to education. It is often assumed that they are not able to perform any work, and sometimes people are reluctant to work with them. Stigmatization and discrimination in their communities also cause loss of self-esteem. Lack of self-esteem causes self-exclusion. It’s a downward spiral.
This case explains how to analyse efficiency in projects that aim to include people with disabilities.
- Case 8 – From conflict to peace: Efficiency analysis in conflict prevention and peace building
Violent conflict continues to affect the lives of millions of people around the worlds, especially in the most marginalised areas. Frictions leading to violent conflict are a set-back to social and economic development. In fact, peace is a pre-condition for all other development interventions to succeed. Therefore, it is important to monitor tensions intervene in an early stage to prevent eruptions of violent conflict. Interventions include facilitating dialogue, consensus building and influencing all stakeholders who can contribute to maintaining or building peace.
This case explains how to analyse efficiency in projects that aim at conflict prevention and peace building.
- Case 9 – Prevention of gender-based violence: Efficiency analysis in prevention of gender-based violence projects
Every year millions of women fall victim to gender based violence (GBV) and many don’t survive. GBV is rooted in cultural norms, practices, traditions and patriarchal attitudes that contain stereotypes regarding the roles, responsibilities and identities of women and men in all spheres of life. The project combines a number of interventions that focus on the positive transformation of harmful social norms targeting individuals (men as well as women), communities and actors that belong to the policy and legislative environment.
This case explains how to analyse efficiency in a project that aims to prevent gender-based violence.
- Case 10 – Domestic biogas: Efficiency analysis in a domestic biogas programme
Domestic biogas plants have a direct positive effect on rural peoples’ energy supply, environment, health and agricultural production. Therefore, the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) supports the formulation and implementation of national programmes on domestic biogas in some developing countries. In these programmes, multiple actors at different levels cooperate on the basis of proper institutional arrangements to provide access to sustainable energy for households raising livestock. SNV advises these actors in developing a commercially viable and market-oriented biogas sector.
This case explains how to analyse efficiency in domestic biogas project.