Synthesis of evidence supporting an inclusive development approach

Client: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The context

The Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008–2017) highlighted the need to address social exclusion and called for more inclusive approaches to overcome poverty in its multiple dimensions. This was reiterated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030’s  commitment to ‘leave no one behind’. Inclusion is now globally recognised as an essential pre-requisite for effective aid. In the Pacific Reset programme, women’s economic empowerment and engagement of youth are the priorities.

Despite the prominence of inclusive development as a concept, ambiguity still exists around the term.Also, evidence of its overall impact on development effectiveness and the more qualitative aspects of wellbeing is sparse.

The review

Standard of Proof conducted a systematic literature review of research studies and evaluations of development interventions with an inclusive approach. We focused on reviewing the evidence on traditionally excluded groups, such as women, people with disabilities, young people, rural communities, that aligned with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s focus areas relevant to development interventions. The report provided the Ministry with a working definition of inclusive development, discussed the different reasons for considering inclusive development as a component of development activities, and collated evidence on the impact and effectiveness of this approach.

We’re pleased to have supported the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in deepening their understanding of the benefits to an inclusive approach to development by synthesising the evidence behind it.


Himalayan Trust Quality Education Review

Client: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Evidence supporting educational outcomes in Nepal

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Himalayan Trust, along with their local implementation partners, have been making significant efforts across the Solukhumbu region (Nepal) to improve access to quality education, and ultimately educational outcomes for learners. These broad efforts, ranging from resource provision to designing and delivering professional development support to schools, aim to enhance literacy skills and overall educational achievement in the region. The funders and implementation partners wanted to understand the effectiveness of the support being provided to schools in the Solukhumbu region of Nepal.

Standard of Proof supported our partners Allen and Clarke undertake a review of this work. We visited a variety of schools in the Himalayan mountains, trekking from Lukla (2860 meters) up to Khumjung (3790 meters) to undertake classroom observations and interviews and to collate secondary data and artefacts along the way.

The findings are informing the future direction of the support so that they can further improve the quality of education in the Nepali region.

Many thanks to Himalayan Trust New Zealand, Himalayan Trust Nepal and Action for Nepal for supporting the trek, and all your awesome efforts to the people of Nepal!

Evaluation of the Fiji Islands Rheumatic Heart Disease Control & Prevention Programme Activity

Client: Cure Kids, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Fiji Ministry of Health

“Evidence supports activity design and health outcomes across Fiji

Rheumatic fever is caused by an abnormal immune response to infection with a bacteria called Streptococcus (GAS), usually in the throat. The symptoms of rheumatic fever resolve over a few weeks, however, damage to the heart valve is usually permanent and referred to as rheumatic heart disease (RHD). With repeated episodes of rheumatic Fever the damaged heart valves become thickened and do not work properly, leading to heart failure and early death.

Rheumatic Heart Disease is a significant health problem in Fiji. Each year, at least 60 people die of RHD in Fiji and the average age of death is 38 (Singh P., et al 2007). The reported prevalence in children aged 5-14 years in Fiji is 19.2 per 1000 (Colquhoun S., et al 2014) – that is almost one child in every classroom with RHD.

From 2014 to 2019, Cure Kids, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) worked together to expand upon the Fiji Islands Rheumatic Heart Disease Control and Prevention Programme. Their goal was to reduce morbidity and mortality in Fiji, and to do this, they made use of the vast RHD research as well as health and contextual experts to create a sustainable and effective programme in Fiji.

Standard of Proof supported Cure Kids and their partners design and implement a mixed-methods evaluation of this work. We collated and triangulated evidence across various sources, demonstrating the weight of the evidence to help the health and contextual experts make informed decisions moving forward.  The next steps for the activity are being planned, using evidence and expertise to achieve their goals.

We are proud to have supported Cure Kids, MFAT and MHMS obtain useful evidence to inform their success, and we wish the hard-working rheumatic heart disease team every success at further improving the health outcomes for Fiji peoples.

Evaluation of the Pacific Nations Careers Study Tour

Client: Careers New Zealand

“Delivering the best programme possible means understanding what works and what doesn’t work. This means listening to the community and the programme delivery team.

In collaboration with Allen + Clarke, Standard of Proof delivered an evaluation that examined the benefits of a Careers New Zealand Study Tour involving delegates from 19 different Pacific nations. We used a story-telling approach, eliciting rich stories about the realised benefits of the programme for delegates. The stories provided compelling, first-hand experiences of the breadth of programme benefits. 

Participants also identified the factors that contributed to success, and generated ideas on how these benefits can be further built upon and sustained over time. These suggestions provided useful information on how the programme can be further improved in the most relevant way for everyone involved.

We were pleased to deliver a cost-effective approach to documenting the benefits of the programme. Our client has been able to use these positive experiences to build upon success, provide learning for the future, and proof of benefits for the programme funder and stakeholders.