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Building Capacity to Evaluate Health and Nutrition Programs

LaLonde, Robert J. PhD

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: November 2009 - Volume 15 - Issue 6 - p S90–S99
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181b61069
Article

With the growing demand for program evaluations, governments in the developing world and nongovernmental organizations have discovered that the pool of trained evaluators is often relatively scarce. This article explains why high-quality retrospective program evaluations require highly trained evaluators and rich databases. The US Department of Agriculture's Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics program and the Global Development Network-Gates Foundation Promoting Innovative Programs From the Developing World demonstration illustrate two approaches that public and nonprofit managers have adopted to build evaluation capacity in their programmatic areas.

This article explains why high-quality retrospective program evaluations require highly trained evaluators and rich databases. The USDA's Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics program and the GDN-Gates Foundation Promoting Innovative Programs From the Developing World demonstration illustrate two approaches that public and nonprofit managers have adopted to build evaluation capacity.

Professor in the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago. The author has served as Director of the Harris School of Public Policy Studies center for the USDA's RIDGE program and as a mentor in the GDN-Gates Foundation demonstration. (LaLonde)

Corresponding Author: Robert J. LaLonde, PhD, Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, The University of Chicago, 1155 East 60th St, Chicago, IL 60637 (r-lalonde@uchicago.edu).

This article was prepared for the Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS) at The University of Chicago, http://chess.bsd.uchicago.edu, and the CDC Office of Workforce and Career Development's conference on Social Science methods and approaches applied to public health. The author is grateful to Alex Majchrowicz and Lyn Squire for their comments on an earlier draft of this article.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.