Story | 27 Jan, 2023

New IUCN guidelines for contribution assessment developed to aid delivery of improved project results

Judging complex societal change processes is made easier with new guidelines to assess contributions. An important contribution claim begins with the question, “How and why has the intervention made a difference, or not?”

Methods to evaluate policy processes and outcomes are especially underdeveloped, yet are needed to optimise the influence of research on policy for addressing complex issues. A new report from IUCN documents a set of easy to understand steps to conduct a Contribution Analysis.

Contribution analysis (CA) is a theory-based approach to evaluation and can be used to identify the contribution an intervention has made to a change or set of changes. The aim of a CA is to produce a credible, evidence-based narrative that a reasonable person would be likely to agree with, rather than to produce conclusive proof. Contribution analysis can be used during a development intervention, at the end, or afterwards.

The purpose of these methodological guidelines is to provide M&E practitioners with a set of simple steps that serve as a guide for a process of qualitative analysis that seeks to identify, describe, and weigh the various contributions made by key stakeholders involved in a given process of social change. These guidelines were developed through the experience gained of the successful implementation of four CAs conducted by IUCN in Guatemala, El Salvador, Uganda, and Viet Nam – across forestry and ocean plastic pollution projects.

CA aims to provide a rich narrative of the change process, and the contributions made by the key stakeholders; to characterise the main contribution types made by the stakeholders; and to weight the overall contribution made by each stakeholder. It is not meant to compare stakeholder contributions, however.

Through five steps, and guidance for data sources, stakeholder engagement, and a set of lessons learned, this report is designed for development practitioners working on solving the world’s pressing environmental challenges – measuring the effectiveness of their interventions.

To carry out a full Contribution Assessment, the five steps are:

5-steps-of-contribution-assessment.pngPhoto: IUCN

Download the report:

For more information, please contact:

Florian Reinhard (at) IUCN (dot) org