Developmental Evaluation

What is Developmental Evaluation?

Developmental Evaluation is an approach to evaluation that supports continuous adaptation to development interventions. It embeds evaluative thinking throughout the program cycle through the presence of an embedded evaluator and collaborative, action-oriented tools.

The purpose of this page is to promote resources connected to Developmental Evaluation and showcase best practices, tools, and templates for implementing a Developmental Evaluation.

Suggested Resources

We have highlighted some recommended resources for members of the DME for Peace community that are interested in learning more about Developmental Evaluation.

Learning from Practice – Developmental Evaluation in Practice: Tips, Tools, and Templates

This document was produced through the DEPA-MERL project; DEPA stands for “Developmental Evaluation Pilot Activity,” and is funded through U.S. Global Development Lab’s Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning Innovations program at USAID.

Recognizing that much of the available Developmental Evaluation resources are based on theory rather than practical experience, this “Tips, Tools, and Templates” document captures early lessons learned from our experience implementing two pilots, and offers guidance for organizations, managers and evaluators seeking to implement the Developmental Evaluation approach.

7 Hot Tips for Implementing a Developmental Evaluation

In the below recording, Rebecca Herrington outlines “7 Hot Tips for Implementing a Developmental Evaluation.

The Evolution of Collective Impact

In the following webinar, Michael Sayre dicusses “The Evolution of Collective Impact.” Since it was first presented in an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2011, the collective impact approach has quickly gained adherents among governments, foundations, and other donors who see it as a coherent framework to achieve large-scale social change through multi-sectoral collaboration. In the years since collective impact was first introduced, practitioners have tested the approach in a variety of contexts, allowing for a more critical assessment of collective impact’s strengths and limitations. In this webinar, Michael reviewed the evolution of collective impact, presented lessons learned from evaluating a collective impact approach in a developing country context and shared examples of additional collaborative models.

What is the DEPA-MERL Project?

DME for Peace is delighted to be working on the DEPA-MERL project through Search for Common Ground.

The Developmental Evaluation Pilot Activity (DEPA-MERL) project is an initiative under the Global Development Lab’s Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning Innovations (MERLIN) program. Developmental evaluation was created to evaluate innovative programs that operate in complex environments and are thus expected to adapt over time. DEPA-MERL is testing the effectiveness of a developmental evaluation approach at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). DEPA-MERL likewise is testing monitoring and evaluation tools and flexible contracting mechanisms necessary in achieving effective programming for innovative interventions, untested theories of change, and/or implementation in complex contexts through the use of developmental evaluations. The evidence gathered through developmental evaluation pilots on a select handful of activities, projects, or programs and the accompanying performance evaluations will serve to encourage effective use of developmental evaluation to strengthen development programming, and in establishing precedence and guidelines for undertaking developmental evaluations and the use of flexible contracting mechanisms for evaluators, implementing partners and donors to enable enhanced programmatic impact. DEPA-MERL is implemented by Social Impact (SI), in partnership with the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan, and Search for Common Ground.

For more information on DEPA-MERL click here.

To contact DEPA-MERL:

Consortium Contact: Gabrielle Plotkin,

USAID Contact: Shannon Griswold,


This website is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID.) The contents of this website are the sole responsibility of Social Impact and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.


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