GRADE - host of PEP-LA regional office - celebrated its 30 years in 2010. To mark the occasion, a set of academic seminars were held in November, to discuss the value of research in promoting development with policy makers, development practitioners, etc. One of the seminars, entitled “Evaluation as a Tool to Make Social Programs and Policies Work”, focused on impact evaluation studies such as those promoted and supported by the PEP Research Network.
This particular event aimed to promote the use of rigorous impact evaluation to improve design and implementation of social programs and policies, based on experience accumulated by GRADE researchers, including the work of Martin Valdivia, lead researcher of two PEP projects:
- “Connecting rural communities for development: An impact evaluation of a rural roads program in Peru” (PMMA 11052) Policy Brief 74
- “Business Training for Microfinance Clients: How it Matters and for Whom?” (PMMA 10422), with Veronica Frisancho and Dean Karlan. Policy Brief 67
The results of these projects had already been presented and discussed in several academic international fora. It was essential, however, that the related policy implications of the evaluations’ results were also presented to and discussed with policy makers directly involved in the implementation of such programs and policies. Indeed, beyond the participation of renowned international academics, the event was concluded with a mix roundtable, composed of both researchers and policymakers, discussing best avenues to promote the insertion of rigorous impact evaluation strategies in the design of Peruvian public programs. In fact, representatives from the Results Based Budgeting (RBB) of Ministry of Economics and Finance (MEF) expressed their interest in getting our help in their efforts to connect budget allocations based on efficiency in results. GRADE also invited officials from international agencies based in Lima, taking the opportunity to introduce PEP-LA to the donor community.