The Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium (PEC) is a partnership between The Alliance for Peacebuilding, Mercy Corps, Search for Common Ground, and CDA Collaborative that is strengthening the methodological rigor of monitoring and evaluation practices within the peacebuilding field, fostering shared learning through a community of practice, and advocating for evidence to inform adaptive management and future policy.
The Alliance for Peacebuilding hired Frontier to conduct an independent evaluation of the Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium and provide recommendations for future focus as the consortium’s work evolves. Drawing on our 15+ years in the peacebuilding community and experience with systems mapping, Frontier examined the enablers and inhibitors of rigorous evaluation methods and systemic learning practices within the peacebuilding community and analyzed the contributions of the Consortium to the broader field.
Peacebuilders are uniquely aware of the strengths, weaknesses, and “quirks” of their community. Policymakers, evaluators, program implementers, and other practitioners who self-identify as members of the broader peacebuilding community interviewed or surveyed for this evaluation are fiercely motivated by the mission driven work they do. They speak proudly about the developments that have advanced the field of peacebuilding evaluation, and are committed to tackling inhibitors that they perceive may block further maturation of the field and its impact.
The majority of peacebuilders engaged during this evaluation believed that the field of peacebuilding evaluation has advanced significantly in the last 5-10 years, pointing to several indicators of progress such as: tools like the Online Field Guide that provide a definitive resource for evaluation practitioners, produced by the Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium; greater visibility of peacebuilding evaluation topics at the American Evaluation Association (AEA) conferences; the important work of scholars such as Dr. Chris Blattman; the application of systems thinking and context sensitive approaches to peacebuilding strategy formulation, implementation, and learning through the pioneering practices of Rob Ricigliano and Diana Chigas; the community building or methodological focus of groups like Empirical Studies of Conflict (ESOC), Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP), and the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP); and shared learning platforms like Design Monitoring and Evaluation for Peace, also a PEC initiative.
The majority of peacebuilders engaged during this evaluation believed that their field has advanced monitoring and evaluation (M&E) practices significantly in the last 5-10 years. They noted the mindset shift that has happened gradually within the peacebuilding evaluation community: “twenty or thirty years ago, people didn’t believe you could prove anything” but now, “there is an acceptance and an expectation that peacebuilding programs can and should be monitored and evaluated. That’s out there now!” Many Peacebuilders interviewed for this evaluation attribute this mindset shift, in part, to the resources developed by the Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium and to the vibrant exchange curated and sustained on the DME for Peace platform.
The peacebuilding field stands to gain significantly from the success of PEC and the Principal organizations’ commitment to adaptive management and transparent leadership.