Two IHM trainees in Malawi

Goals and activities

Evidence for Development (EfD) seeks to reduce poverty by improving the quality and effectiveness of development decisions and programmes around the world and promoting openness, impact and accountability at every level – from regional or national policies affecting the lives of millions, to more localised projects that work closely with individual households.

Using innovative data collection and analytical methods, our work puts much-needed information about household income and livelihoods in the hands of key decision makers from local to international levels. This information can change lives, allowing evidence-based programmes to guide development and helping the most effective types of assistance to go to the people who need it most.

The rigorous methods for collecting and analysing data that EfD promotes have been developed over many years of practical, village-level field work. As well as carrying out our own research, we work with local universities, researchers, NGOs and governments to build the skills of our national and international partners in assembling and interpreting the high quality information that they need. We also work with open-source software developers worldwide to ensure that EfD’s analytical tools are as widely and as freely available as possible.

  • Research: We develop, enhance and disseminate practical, low-cost research methods for collecting, modelling and analysing livelihoods data, primarily the household economy approach (HEA) and the individual household method (IHM). These methods provide detailed and accurate information on economic activities, needs and outcomes, producing key insights for policy and programme design, monitoring and evaluation. Analysis generated by this work can be applied across a wide range of disciplines including climate change and adaptation, food security, health, micro enterprise and social protection. To read some of these studies and reports, click here.
  • Capacity building: Evidence for Development works with NGOs, government agencies, universities and research institutes, training students and staff to measure and analyse livelihoods, food security and the likely household-level economic impacts of development and humanitarian programmes. Our training is designed to produce skilled practitioners, able to work with national and international organisations to improve programme impacts and aid effectiveness. The wider availability of local expertise should contribute to policies and projects that increasingly reflect the needs and capabilities of target populations.
  • Technology: We continue to improve and enhance the analytical software that we have developed through an open-source process, open to contributions from any programmer. Evidence for Development aims to make state-of-the-art poverty analysis tools freely available to researchers across the world, providing customisable and easy to use technology that can help decision makers find answers to key development problems.

Future developments are likely to involve further extending EfD’s capacity-building work, research into climate change adaptation, use of large combined datasets, and open-source programming initiatives. As well as consolidating existing links, we are actively looking to new donors, sponsors and partners as we enter our next phase of growth.