In Spring 2020, students worked with the Catholic Relief Services. Students performed a wide variety of analyses, including needs assessment, performance measure development, policy analysis, process evaluation, and program design assessment.
The following are projects prepared by students. They are listed in order of clients.
Catholic Relief Services
1. Strategies for Designing a Summative Evaluation of Take-Home Rations in the Beoog Biiga Program. Designers, implementers, and funders of international development programs across the globe are periodically seeking to understand the true effects of programs for the populations they serve. Increasingly, programs are required to demonstrate effectiveness of their operations in order to continue to receive funding or to continue implementing new stages of the program. This trend is seen in domestic as well as international programs. Evaluations can improve program effectiveness and inform programming decisions. 1 Thus, it is crucial that programs are tracking performance data, planning for evaluations, and applying the evidence from these studies. This report is meant to provide initial guidance for evaluating a component of the Beoog Biiga program in Burkina Faso, implemented by Catholic Relief Services and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.
2. Final Performance Evaluation of 4Children Program: Achievements, Challenges, Experiences and Lessons. This final evaluation explores the achievements and challenges of the overall implementation of the Coordinating Comprehensive Care for Children (4Children) activity in 12 countries.
The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) commissioned the evaluation in collaboration with the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD SPP). This evaluation is under supervision from the Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountabilityand Learning Unit (MEAL) of CRS. This report first describes the evaluation purpose and questions, then the background information on 4Children, then presents evaluation methodology with limitations, concerns and gaps, and describes findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
3. Cash-Based Programming in Economies of Hyperinflation A Research Review to Inform the Catholic Relief Services TENGO Programin Venezuela. The CRS has recently launched TENGO, a food security program based in Venezuela that has just emerged from the piloting stage in late 2019 and is looking to scale up. The program is operating on the theory of cash-based programming. CRS is interested in learning more on the impact of utilizing cash-based programming in an economy with significant levels of hyperinflation, such as Venezuela. The main question that the team hopes to answer is the following: What are some lessons learned and obstacles to overcome when implementing a cash-based program in an environment of hyperinflation?
In order to address this, a research review that collected case studies on cash-based programs implemented in nations with comparable environmental factors to Venezuela was conducted. Through this analysis which covered six programs in six unique countries around the world, the team was able to identify three key themes that are valuable for organizations looking to implement cash-based programs in volatile economies experiencing hyperinflatio. These themes include 1) coordinating with the national and local government to help anticipate policy changes, 2) ensuring that the market is able to meet the needs of the program and its participants, and 3) protecting and maintaining the real value of the program cash flow against the extreme levels of inflation. By utilizing these analytical themes, CRS will be able to learn valuable lessons and ensure that they are able to protect themselves against similar obstacles that may arise.