I am a bit obsessed with evidence. Specifically, with making sure that the work we do is evidence-based. If you’re not sure it works, then why are you doing it? There are plenty of development interventions that have been proven to actually work. We should spend our money on those. There is no excuse whatsoever for funding and implementing large-scale projects that are based purely on theory or deduction. It’s unethical.

There is a role for experimental work and for pilot projects. I’m not saying there isn’t. But they should be small, rigorously evaluated, and designed with the idea of collecting quality data as well as having an impact. In a world of limited resources, you don’t go big with an experimental program. Yo go big when you’ve got enough data that you’ve got solid odds of your program succeeding.

My evidence obsession means that I like DARA. Their tagline says it all “We improve the quality of humanitarian aid and development through evaluation.” Their website features the Humanitarian Response Index, which looks at the effectiveness of aid in emergencies.