NGO Evidence Principles
Our NGO Evidence Principles are for assessing the quality of NGO evidence. NGOs strive to invest resources into interventions that can make the biggest difference to the lives of poor and marginalised people. The Principles are designed to ensure that decisions about those interventions are made on the highest quality basis.
The Principles have been designed by NGOs, for NGOs and aim to set a common standard for the quality of evidence. They build on NGO values, and set standards of rigour which are relevant and practical to the scale of NGO operations and the type of interventions NGOs deliver. They are a key element of our effectiveness programme.
A checklist drawn from the Principles will enable you to review and assure the quality of existing evidence such as an evaluation report, case study or a report to donors. The Principles will also serve as a reference point for how evidence will be generated, such as when setting evaluation terms of reference.
After consultation events with Bond members and donors and detailed work over the course of a year with a task group of NGOs, we are excited to be publishing the draft Principles and checklist for piloting by Bond members.
- Voice and Inclusion: the perspectives of people living in poverty, including the most marginalised, are included in the evidence, and a clear picture is provided of who is affected and how
- Appropriateness: the evidence is generated through methods that are justifiable given the nature of the purpose of the assessment
- Triangulation: the evidence has been generated using a mix of methods, data sources, and perspectives
- Contribution: the evidence explores how change happens and the contribution of the intervention and factors outside the intervention in explaining change
- Transparency: the evidence discloses the details of the data sources and methods used, the results achieved, and any limitations in the data or conclusions.
For each principle the checklist has four questions that can be used to test the quality of a piece of evidence. Each question has a 1-4 scale, allowing you to score a piece of evidence:
- weak evidence
- minimum standard
- good practice
- gold standard
An overall score and colour (red, amber, yellow or green) is then assigned to each principle to provide a picture of the robustness of a piece of evidence.
We need your help: please help us to pilot the Principles! The pilot phase runs from October 2012 to the end of May 2013.
Who are we hoping will help?
- NGOs of all sizes, ideally using the tool collaboratively with South-based partners
- NGOs working in international development, humanitarian aid, advocacy, capacity building and work within with fragile states
- Donors, fund managers, and programme evaluators.
What kind of evidence should you test the tool on?
- Evaluation reports
- Case studies
- Annual reviews to donors
- Research studies
We would also like people to test the tool when designing or setting the terms of reference for any of the above.
How to feed back your experience
We ask that you provide written feedback within the pilot pack which is an Excel workbook. The workbook has consultation questions as a guide.
We will supplement the written feedback with telephone interviews, and will also be organising focus groups.
The NGO Evidence Pilot pack is in the form of a .xlsx spreadsheet. Please go to the Download button in the right-hand column opposite and complete the short form so that we can support you in the pilot.
The pack can be downloaded in Firefox, Chrome, Opera or Safari, and if you are using an old version of Internet Explorer it might need updating. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the pack by email.
Initial discussions on the checklist were held with a small group of Bond members in Autumn 2011, followed by a consultation with a larger group of 30 NGOs, Comic Relief, DEC and DFID in April 2012. An initial list of principles and criteria was drawn up and piloted by seven NGOs (CAFOD, Christian Aid, EveryChild, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Self Help Africa, Traidcraft and World Vision) between May and June 2012.
After a second consultation workshop with 28 NGOs the pilot version of the criteria was created, containing five principles and twenty criteria. Following discussion with the pilot group and DFID in July 2012 the decision was taken to develop scales descriptions for each of the questions.
We wish to pilot test the principles and checklist as widely as possible throughout Bond’s membership over the next 6 months. Using their experiences and feedback, we will further refine and improve the tool and decide how best to market it throughout the international NGO sector.
This pilot-testing phase will end on 31 May 2013.
During summer 2013, the findings will be collated and discussed by the Pilot Group which includes representatives from international NGOs both large and small and key sector donors. The group will consider what changes need to be made to improve the tool and consider how best to market the tool within the sector.
Bond will announce plans for the official launch of the first post-pilot edition in late summer 2013.
Thank you very much for your help. If you have any questions, please contact us: email@example.com or 020 7520 1042.