Evaluating Social Programmes 2021

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Evaluating Social Programmes (ESP) 2021 is a five-day course that explores why and how randomised evaluations can be used to rigorously measure impact for better development outcomes. Applications are due by November 11, 2021 at 11.59pm IST. 

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About the Course 

CLEAR/J-PAL South Asia is offering an online training course 'Evaluating Social Programmes'. Modelled after our in-person course, Executive Education: Evaluating Social Programmes, this five-day virtual training programme is designed to provide development practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and students with a thorough understanding of randomised evaluations and how they can be used to rigorously measure impact and inform policy. 

This online course offers participants a clear introduction to the merits of conducting randomised evaluations of social programmes, when researchers and policymakers might choose to conduct them, and how these evaluations are designed in real-world settings. 

The course will cover

  • The basics of measuring impact through randomised evaluations
  • Technical design choices and other pragmatic considerations when conducting a randomised study. 
  • Tools that are critical for all programme evaluations—needs assessment, a Theory of Change, and how to measure outcomes effectively.

ESP 2021 will be led by J-PAL affiliated professors and senior CLEAR/J-PAL South Asia staff. Lectures will be supplemented by group discussions of context-specific case studies led by CLEAR/J-PAL South Asia staff, providing participants opportunities to forge connections with peers. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss their own work and their learning from ESP 2021 with senior members of the CLEAR/J-PAL South Asia team through office hours. 

View the sample agenda to determine the applicability of this course to your learning needs. This sample agenda is provided for reference only.

Who can apply? 

This course is designed for programme managers and researchers at international/local development organisations, foundations/donor organisations, government and non-governmental organisations, as well as students, researchers, and development practitioners. 

Please note that the level of this course is Intermediate.

Only individuals working or studying in South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka) are eligible to apply to this online training course. Interested individuals in Pakistan are encouraged to apply to the upcoming Evidence-Based Program Design workshop organised by Centre for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP). 

The deadline for applications is 11th November, 2021, 11:59PM IST. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

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Course Focus

Day 1: Introduction to Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) and Theory of Change

November 22, 13:35 – 17:55 (IST)

On Day 1, participants will be introduced  to monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in development research, including the types of questions we can answer through impact evaluations and how we can ensure that these evaluations are based on robust Theories of Change. Participant groups will then chalk out the Theory of Change of a particular programme in group discussions led by J-PAL South Asia staff.

Format: Lecture, Case Study Group Discussion

Day 2: Measurement

November 23, 14:00 – 18:30 (IST)

On Day 2, we will explore how to define and measure the outcomes of interest in a social programme. The lecture will also cover how to identify potential sources of measurement error in the survey response process, and strategies for mitigating such errors.

Format: Lecture, Office Hours

Day 3: Why Randomise?

November 24, 14:00 – 17:55 (IST)

Through a lecture and accompanying case study, we will explore the features of different impact evaluation methodologies and discuss the relative advantages of randomised evaluations over others. 

Format: Lecture, Case Study Group Discussion 

Day 4: How to Randomise

November 25, 14:00 – 18:30 (IST)

Day 4 will provide participants  an overview of the basic process of randomisation and explore how to  design randomised evaluations for different programme specifications. Participants will then design a randomised evaluation for an example presented to them. 

Format: Lecture, Case Study Group Discussion, Office Hours

Day 5: Research to Policy

November 26, 14:00 – 18:30 (IST)

Using an example of a completed randomised evaluation, Day 5 will focus on how to use research to drive action towards more effective policies and programs for alleviating poverty.

Format: Lecture, Office Hours


Note: This scholarship has been awarded and is no longer available. Students are welcome to apply to ESP 2021 and will be considered for a paid spot of INR 15,000 plus taxes as applicable.

CLEAR/J-PAL South Asia is offering one scholarship spot for student applicants to attend ESP 2021. The scholarship consists of a full fee waiver and is open to individuals who are currently enrolled in full-time undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral studies. 

Student applicants are requested to indicate their academic affiliation in the application form form. Other student candidates who might be accepted to the course (without the scholarship) are welcome to attend the course with a fee of INR 15,000.

Apply here. The deadline for applications is 11 November, 2021, 11:59 PM IST. 

Fee Structure

The fee structure for ESP 2021 is as follows:

Organization Type (Based on World Bank Income Groups) Course Fee per person (service tax extra, as applicable)
  • High-income Country For Profit / Foundation / Academic / Research Institutions / Government       
  • Multilateral, bilateral, and international organizations
INR 35,000
  • High-income Country NGO
  • Low / Lower-middle / Upper-middle Income Country For-Profit / Private Sector / Foundation
INR 25,000
  • Low / Lower-middle Income / Upper-middle Income Country Academic / Research Institution / Government
  • Low / Lower-middle Income / Upper-middle Income Country NGO
  • Student: Undergraduate/Postgraduate/PhD
INR 15,000


Please note that two accepted participants from the same organisation are eligible for a 10 percent discount on their total fee.

For further information or assistance, please contact Bhakti Bhowmik ([email protected]).