Beyond Critique: Towards Evidence-Based Community-Driven Development Strategies for Fragile and Conflict-Affected Contexts

Mixed evidence on the effectiveness of Community-Driven Development (CDD) in conflict-affected settings poses a challenge to donors, policymakers, and practitioners who need to make justifiable decisions about future investments in the use of the approach or the selection of alternative interventions. Building on a well-established partnership with DFID, the IRC has written a CDD Working Paper to illuminate the policy, programming, and research options facing the international development community in light of the accumulated evidence and learning on CDD in recent years.

We argue that greater infusion of social theory and more explicit articulation of theories of change will help donors, policymakers, practitioners, and evaluators in their decisions about 1) the appropriateness of CDD for addressing a given problem; 2) design options and contextualization; 3) measurement strategies; and 4) suitable alternatives to which a given CDD intervention can be compared. We discuss the process of developing more theoretically grounded CDD interventions and provide two examples of theories of change that focus on improving governance and social cohesion outcomes.

The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.