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Understanding the DIB effect. Insights from the evaluation of the FCDO Development Impact Bonds Pilot Programmes

Engaging with Evidence is a series of interactive online convenings hosted by the Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab) and designed to encourage a greater understanding of the latest evidence on the use of cross-sector partnerships focused on outcomes. The sessions are hosted monthly, and attract a diverse range of practitioners from different sectors, as well as researcher from across the world.  

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, and help 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.  

Throughout 2023, Engaging with Evidence 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. They 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.  

What to expect

Each session lasts 90 minutes and features contributions from a diverse panel of experts, as well as ample time for contributions and questions from all participants. Discussions at each session are grounded in the findings of a recent evaluation or research study, with additional practical insights brought in by stakeholders directly involved in the work or project under discussion. Each session follows a set format:  

  1. Setting the context & presentation of the evaluation/ research findings
  2. Discussion with the panel and audience questions
  3. Closing remarks 

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 moderator Srinithya Nagarajan

Session Recording

Session Recording

Listen to the audio recording of the session.

Session Overview

In this session, we explored the findings of the third wave of the independent evaluation of the FCDO Development Impact Bonds (DIBs) Pilot Programme. We were joined by leading experts from the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), Ecorys, University of Oxford and more.

Participants in the session had the opportunity to:

  • learn more about the evaluation of the FCDO DIBs Pilot Programme and the findings of the evaluation, particularly the effect of the DIB funding mechanism;
  • hear from those directly involved in the programmes about their reflections on the impact, legacy, and lessons learned from delivering the programme through a DIB model; and
  • explore with development experts and academics the wider implications of the evaluation findings and how the lessons can help inform future design and delivery of outcomes-focused programmes for development more broadly.

In 2017 the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) launched the Development Impact Bonds (DIBs) pilot programme. The DIBs pilot programme aimed to build the evidence base on the suitability of DIBs to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of development programmes in several sectors. FCDO allocated GBP 6.3 million for three projects: 1. Humanitarian Impact Bond for Physical Rehabilitation, 2. Village Enterprise (VE) and 3. Quality Education (QEI) DIB. Ecorys was commissioned to evaluate the programme, aiming to generate learning to inform FCDO’s future policy around DIBs. The third and final report summarises and captures final learnings and conclusions from the implementation stage.

The focus of the third wave evaluation was the DIBs funding mechanism. The evaluation was interested in understanding the ‘DIB effect’ – that is, the effect of using a DIB instead of a grant or other PbR mechanism. The figure 1 summarises the DIB effect observed across the three pilot programmes.

Picture 1
Figure 1: The DIB effect

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