Design, Monitoring and Evaluation for Peacebuilding

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DCED Practical Guidelines: Measuring Results of Private Sector Development in Conflict-Affected Environments

Author, Copyright Holder: 
Melina Heinrich, the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development

Regular results monitoring is critical for programmes in conflict-affected environments (CAEs) to answer important questions about their effectiveness: Does the programme achieve its objectives despite the fast-changing, complicated situation? Is it aggravating the conflict in any way? And how might the programme need to adjust interventions to be more effective or avoid harm?

This is particularly true for more complex programmes such as private sector development (PSD) – an area that donors are increasingly dedicating resources to in order to promote economic opportunities for the poor, including conflict-affected communities. More than in other contexts though, PSD programmes in CAEs face difficulties related to security, data availability as well as staff capacities and turnover – all of which represent challenges for results measurement.

To help PSD practitioners in CAEs adopt good monitoring practices, the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) has developed Practical Guidelines – following the key elements and principles of the DCED Standard for Results Measurement. The DCED Standard is an eight-part framework for measuring and managing the results of PSD interventions during implementation, based on the theory of change or logic of a programme. It is widely recognised as good practice, with more than 100 projects in over 50 countries now actively using it.

The Guidelines for implementing the Standard in CAEs were first published in 2013, and incorporate lessons from extensive interviews with experts and field practitioners as well as two cases studies in Somalia and Sierra Leone. For example, they provide advice and practical tips on how to incorporate do no harm or peacebuilding aspects into results chains; define appropriate indicators; and measure changes in indicators in line with good research practices despite insecure, resource-constrained circumstances.

In the latest version of the guidelines published in February 2015 you will find additional hands-on examples and lessons learnt, based in particular on a recent DCED workshop with donors and implementing agencies. Among other changes, you can now find: 

  • new insights into programme experiences in moving from a conflict-blind to a conflict-sensitive  design and monitoring approach, or testing their own assumptions about the linkages between economic development and stability;
  • additional examples of theories of change of different types PSD programmes (such as business environment reform, entrepreneurship training, or value chain development), and of conflict risks they may need to monitor at different levels of the results chain;
  • more examples of theories of change illustrating how PSD programmes may expect to have peace and stability impacts; and
  • additional indicator examples for measuring PSD impacts on peace and stability.

The DCED is keen to hear from more practitioners that are managing to assess the results of their programmes in spite of the many challenges. Please contact to share your experiences or any feedback or advice that you may have.

For more information on PSD in CAEs, including guidance by various agencies and a comprehensive online library with carefully selected documents organised by sub-themes, please refer to the DCED Knowledge Page on the topic. To learn more about the DCED Standards, click here.





Melina Heinrich is Senior Private Sector Development Specialist at the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development. Her work includes technical support to the DCED's working group on PSD in conflict-affected environments as well as research and knowledge management across various other PSD themes and approaches. The DCED is the forum for 22 donor and UN agencies seeking to create economic opportunities for the poor - by sharing experience, documenting evidence, and developing guidance on effective practice.