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Lessons from the FCDO development impact bonds pilot programme

Engaging with Evidence is a series of interactive online convenings hosted by the GO Lab and designed to encourage a greater understanding of the latest evidence on the use of cross-sector partnerships focused on outcomes. Throughout 2021, this webinar series will offer an open platform for policymakers, practitioners and researchers around the world to engage with key findings from the latest research and evaluation work in the field. Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • discuss new evidence directly with the authors of research and evaluation studies; 
  • hear the practical insights of the partners involved in the development and implementation of the projects under discussion; and 
  • reflect on the relevance of the evidence to their own work.

Building independent, high-quality evidence

At the GO Lab we believe in the importance of building independent, high-quality evidence and disseminating it effectively to inform policy decisions and improve practice on the ground. As new evidence around the use of outcomes-based approaches is starting to emerge, we hope that with this series of online convenings we can continue to bridge the gap between evidence and practice. The series aims to foster real dialogue between policymakers, practitioners and researchers in an honest, transparent and constructive way. Both veterans and explorers interested in better understanding the latest evidence around the use of outcomes-based approaches are welcome to join these sessions.

What to expect

Each session will last 90 minutes and will feature a distillation of key findings, reflections from a diverse panel of experts, as well as ample time for contributions and questions from all participants. Topics that we will explore as part of this series include: lessons from Latin America around building a SIB ecosystem, evidence from the implementation of development impact bonds in low- and middle- income countries, insights from the experience with impact bonds in the UK, insights around the use of social outcomes contracting in Europe, learning from the design and implementation of outcomes funds. 

Our sessions will be chaired by Andreea Anastasiu, Policy and Engagement Manager (GO Lab), and Tanyah Hameed, Research and Policy Associate (GO Lab). All sessions are free to attend and open to all, but will be of particular interest to policymakers and other practitioners interested in developing sustainable, system-wide outcomes-based approaches.  

If you’d like to suggest a topic or highlight a recent study that you’d like to see discussed on a future session, please contact our moderators Andreea Anastasiu or Tanyah Hameed.

Session recording

Session recording

Listen to the audio recording of the session.

Session overview

In the second session of the Engagement with Evidence series, we hosted an online session in partnership with Ecorys and FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office), focusing on new evidence and insights from four Development Impact Bonds (DIBs) across Africa and Asia. We drew on a recent Ecorys report which captures lessons from the delivery phase of FCDO’s DIBs pilot programme. Through this, we explored key ingredients in DIBs to increase efficiency and effectiveness, the conditions for DIBs to be an appropriate commissioning tool, and the costs and benefits of using them. 

We were joined by a leading panel of speakers from across the globe. They brought expertise on impact investment, humanitarian aid and international development, as well as their own practical experience in impact bond management. 


About the report

The objective of the evaluation report is to generate learnings and recommendations on the use of DIBs as an instrument for aid delivery. It focusses on the use of the DIB funding mechanism and understanding the ‘DIB effect’, that is, the effect of using a DIB instead of a grant or other Payment by Results mechanism. The evaluation also tests a DIB Theory of Change (ToC), based on wider literature and consultations with stakeholders in these DIBs. As the DIBs are part-way through delivery, this report focuses on the DIBs during their delivery stage. It builds on the first report, which focused on the DIBs during their design stage. 

In addition, the report explores the following three themes:

  • Four key ingredients in a DIB to increase efficiency and effectiveness in delivery:
  1. Stronger focus on outcomes
  2. Heightened performance management
  3. External perspectives and expertise
  4. High-stakes environment
  • The conditions in which a DIB is most appropriate
  • Lessons learned from DIB application, including lessons from adaptation to COVID-19

For more information, get in touch with GO Lab Policy and Engagement Manager Andreea Anastasiu.