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The Spanish Impact Evaluation Fund

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The Spanish Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund, known as the Spanish SIEF, was a €10.4 million program ($13.75 million) funded by Spain with a $1.5 million grant from Britain. The goal of the five-year fund, which closed in June 2012, was to support the World Bank in evaluating the impact of innovative programs to improve people’s lives through better health, education, and social assistance programs. The Spanish SIEF financed impact evaluations in 37 eligible countries across all developing regions, conducted training for policymakers and researchers, and disseminated results through a variety of publications and meetings.

The Spanish government made the investment in impact evaluation research as a route for improving aid effectiveness and promoting results-based management in Spanish and international organizations. When the fund was created, it was understood that developing countries should partner with impact evaluation teams as much as possible both to better understand the role impact evaluation can play in improving policymaking, and to ensure that studies were relevant to policy needs. The evidence generated through the fund supported by Spain advanced global knowledge on "what works" and, in doing so, helped promote the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and other key human development goals. The trust fund also built the capacity of developing countries, World Bank staff, and Spanish and other development partner agency staff to carry out rigorous impact evaluations and effectively utilize the results.

The Spanish trust fund has been supporting impact evaluation through three pillars:

  • Impact Evaluations of Priority Programs

    The bulk of the fund’s resources was used to fund impact evaluations of priority programs designed to improve human development outcomes. 
  • Regional Workshops on Impact Evaluation

    The fund supported 17 field-based impact evaluation workshops per year to build staff, client, and donor capacity for measuring results, evaluating impact, and using evaluation evidence for policy.
  • Results Dissemination

    One of the main purposes of the fund was to promote dissemination and knowledge sharing on effective impact evaluation strategies and on the results achieved in programs addressing human development challenges.

    Dissemination included a monthly policy note that reviewed research and its relevance for policymakers.

The Spain-supported fund was managed by the World Bank’s Human Development Network Chief Economist’s office. Evaluations were conducted by joint teams of World Bank (or outside consultant) research staff and regional task teams responsible for the programs being evaluated. The fund’s work is now being continued by the successor Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF), which was launched with the support of the British government’s Department for International Development (DFID), which leads the UK's work to end extreme poverty.