Evaluations provide an essential evidence base for informed understanding of progress. When evaluations are well-designed and focus on the intended users, they tell us what works and what does not. Equally, they measure progress according to plans and/or highlight results that were not initially planned but are equally important. And finally, they reveal if programmes were well designed, suggest what can be done to improve future implementation, redirect financial flows, or how to discontinue a flawed intervention.
Through demand-driven, rigorous evaluations and robust monitoring systems, our work supports adaptive management and learning, enabling the use of evaluation evidence in decision making to improve the execution and successful delivery of results.
NIRAS has completed over 400 MEL assignments in the last five years and has over 30 highly experienced in-house MEL specialists with a wide geographic coverage across Africa, Europe, Asia, and South America.
Implementing assignments worldwide at multiple levels – global policy, programmatic, and field projects – we make sense of complex ongoing processes to ensure that evaluative evidence can support learning to improve performance, impact and more efficient use of aid resources.
NIRAS has carried out evaluations for the EU, FCDO, Defra, AFD, Sida, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, BEIS, and other government departments, as well as bilateral and multilateral donor agencies internationally, NGOs, philanthropic foundations and other private sector clients worldwide.
We pair our contextual and thematic expertise with a deep understanding of evaluation theories and approaches. Our evaluation services add value to end users and are practical, contextually tailored and methodologically rigorous. Our approach to monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) puts the user’s needs at the heart of our approach, ensuring that evidence is relevant to inform decision-making and shared in a way that promotes learning to build greater ownership and usability of findings.
An example of Theory of Change in one of our MEL projects:
Our MEL professionals have deep practical experience in designing and implementing quantitative and qualitative evaluations that rely on a mix of methods to support generation of evidence-based findings. We have experience in delivering site-specific and complex multi-partner programme and portfolio level evaluation and learning assignments across a wide range of sectors. These include climate change and sustainable land use, governance and democracy, civil society, gender and human rights, peace and security and economic growth (trade and private sector development). Consequently, we have a sound understanding of key drivers for successes, best practice and lessons learned.
NIRAS also has extensive experience of supporting organisations in developing their capacities in strategic planning, monitoring, evaluation, reporting and learning (PMEL). Our experts strongly emphasise management for results during the implementation of all projects that we facilitate. We design monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems that give the right people the right type of information at the right time, thereby contributing to informed decision-making, better allocation of resources and increased development outcomes.
Our approaches to results-based management (RBM) and PMEL draw on the latest research and thinking, as well as our own practical experience of what works best in the many large programmes NIRAS helps to implement. Decades of project support to a wide range of organisations give us a solid understanding of and ability to meet the real needs and demands of development actors.
We offer the following services:
- Tailored qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches suited to individual assignment needs that are guided by best practice.
- Utilisation focused outputs to ensure that our MEL outputs and learning influence decision making and programme management.
- Application of innovative technology-based data collection, analysis and communication approaches that use a wide range of bespoke tools tailored to programme context – including tools for satellite and remote sensing; natural language processing; machine learning; web-crawling; and integrated data visualisation.
- Rapid response and mobilisation based on framework contract routines.
- Dedication to credibility, independence and usefulness.
- Rigorous internal quality assurance.
- Global network of specialists.
- Collaboration with academic institutions and think tanks.
- Management tools for large, long-term and multi-country studies.
- Implementation support through our global network of NIRAS country offices.
- Managing and delivering capacity building support through MEL helpdesks.
NIRAS's MEL capacity statement
Ensuring £1.2 billion fund delivers on its promise to support inclusive growth in middle-income countries