Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium

Figure 1: PEC Meeting in Cape Town

Action Areas of the Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium:

  1. Developing Methodological Rigor: PEC members developed, tested and shared practical tools for evaluation; developed training modules and workshop resources; improved access to existing guides, articles, resources (PEC Online Field Guide and DM&E for Peace site); produced case studies on promising practices and collaborated on evaluation pilots. Mercy Corps led on development and testing of several practical tools together with colleagues in field offices. CDA led on the development of the Online Field Guide, brief working papers, DM&E training modules and other practical resources.
  2. Improving the Culture of Evaluation and Shared Learning: Search for Common Ground organized and coordinated an online community of practice hosting hundreds of Thursday Talks and engaging hundreds of practitioners through a mentorship program. PEC members engaged with donors, practitioners and researchers at annual evaluation conference (AEA, EES), learning events and policy discussions to advocate for whole-of-field learning. PEC also expanded its reach by engaging practitioners in the Global South through workshops and cross-learning events.
  3. Fostering the Use of Evidence to Influence Peacebuilding Policies: PEC compiled existing good practice and resources into Guiding Steps on Peacebuilding DME and produced guiding principles for peacebuilding donors. PEC members presented to USAID, US State Department, UK Stabilization Unit and other government donors on the importance of strengthening the evidence base and supporting improvements in M&E practices. Alliance for Peacebuilding and CDA gathered and reviewed available evidence violence reduction and reconciliation programs.


Project Funder

Understanding the impact of peacebuilding is a passion for CDA. How the field evaluates itself is an acute challenge. And we’re getting better! This was the focus of the 8-year Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium (PEC) in partnership with Alliance for Peacebuilding, Mercy Corps, and Search for Common Ground. Together we pursued the goals:
  • Improve the quality, regularity, and use of peacebuilding evaluations
  • Over time, increase the quality and effectiveness of peace programming
  • Increase the availability of reliable evidence to support sustained understanding of and funding for peacebuilding programs
This page presents the learnings and products that address these goals. Numerous initiatives continue to build on this work, including DM&E for Peace and the new Eirene Peacebuilding Database.

Results from the Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium

While the peacebuilding field has made great strides in evaluating itself, the challenge remains and requires a whole-of-community effort. The PEC was a field-wide response to address the unique challenges to measuring and learning from peacebuilding programs. As PEC efforts concluded in early 2019, the legacy of the PEC consortium boasts a long list of learning activities, learning products and resources that are cited and referenced in the sector, and an impressive record of increasing practitioner participation in events, webinars, Thursday Talks and mentorship programs. But beyond these output focused achievements, we have also observed and measured indisputable changes in the culture of peacebuilding evaluation which has shifted since we first started this work in 2011.

The culture of evaluation in peacebuilding HAS changed in the following ways:

  • There is a greater acceptance of the need for monitoring & evaluation;
  • There is less (overt) resistance to evaluation;
  • There is more use of evaluative tools and methods and more experimentation with complexity-aware methods that are relevant for peacebuilding processes;
  • The quality of evaluations is improving, although more organizations could be sharing their evaluations with others – an area where more progress is needed.

CDA’s learning products developed as part of the PEC consortium are listed below and the Online Field Guide which lives on DM&E for Peace is linked below as well.

CDA’s Engagements from 2011-2019

Before the PEC, CDA was involved in the Peacebuilding Evaluation Project (PEP) which brought together donors and practitioners to discuss the state of evaluation in the field. The questions driving the earlier engagement were:

  • What were the sources of impetus to engage in and improve evaluation practices?
  • What were the barriers to more regular and higher quality evaluation?

CDA supported the development of a systems map to illustrate the dynamics of peacebuilding evaluation and the barriers and opportunities for improving practice.

The Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium was established in 2011 by several organizations including the Alliance for Peacebuilding, USIP, Mercy Corps, Search for Common Ground, and the American University/Center for Peacebuilding & Development. CDA joined as a member later, and CDA staff also served on the PEC’s International Advisory Group of peacebuilding evaluation experts. During three rounds of grants by the Carnegie Corporation (2011-13, 2014-17, 2017-19) the overall goals and major action areas (pillars) for the PEC remained the same but the activities were adapted and expanded to meet the changing and growing needs in the peacebuilding sector.

CDA’s engagements include:

Briefing Papers

Wicked Problems: Peacebuilding Evaluation Ethics, Determining What is Good and Right
Applying DM&E Strategies to Emerging Programming Approaches to Prevent and Counter Violent Extremism
Supernatural Belief and the Evaluation of Faith-based Peacebuilding
Adaptive Peacebuilding Programming Through Effective Feedback Loops: Promising Practice

Sector Reviews and Lesson Summaries

Meta-Review of Inter-Religious Peacebuilding Program Evaluations
Sub-Sector Review of Evidence from Reconciliation Programs
Getting “Do No Harm” to Stick: Successes, Failures and Varied Approaches

Resource Guides

The Online Field Guide to Peacebuilding Evaluation
Thinking Evaluatively in Peacebuilding Design Implementation and Monitoring
Beyond Mitigating Risks and Disruptions: Expanding the Meaning of Conflict Sensitive Evaluation
Peacebuilding Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation: A Training Package for Participants and Trainers at Intermediate to Advanced Levels