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Social Observatory for Livelihoods Projects. Vijayendra Rao, World Bank. Ghazala Mansuri and Vijayendra Rao. Induced vs Organic. Organic Participation by civic groups (organized or as part of movements) acting independently of government, and sometimes in opposition to it.

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Ghazala Mansuri


Vijayendra Rao

Induced vs organic
Induced vs Organic


  • Participation by civic groups (organized or as part of movements) acting independently of government, and sometimes in opposition to it.

    Induced (Focus of Report)

  • Participation induced by donors and/or governments via projects implemented at the local level.

Lessons for projects
Lessons for Projects

The variability of local context and the unpredictable nature of change-trajectories highlight the importance of developing effective systems of internal learning and monitoring. Such projects require constant adjustment, learning in the field, and experimentation in order to be effective.

The social observatory
The Social Observatory

  • Core team of 12 from the World Bank

  • Key Partners

    • Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project

    • PudhuVaazhvu Project

    • Orissa Rural livelihoods Mission

    • Maharashtra State Rural Livelihoods Mission

  • Working with 15 academic and research partners

    • India: Delhi School of Economics, IGIDR, MIDS, Praxis

    • US: University of Arizona, Brown University, Cornell, Duke University, University of California- Berkeley

  • Also working with

    • North-East Rural Livelihoods Project

    • Rajasthan Rural Livelihoods Mission

Key principles
Key Principles

  • Information that is accurate

    • Relevant for Learning

  • Analysis that leads to improved action

  • Method Appropriate to the Need

  • Cultural Change: Learn from Real Data. From Failure and Success.

  • Imbedding the spirit of open debate and learning.


  • Monitoring

    • For real time learning by doing

    • 4 States

  • Impact Evaluations

    • For long term learning from periodic, scientifically designed evaluations

    • 12 ongoing, 8 planned in 4 states

  • Innovations and Special Studies

    • To understand key issues for project implementation and design

  • Capacity Building and Outreach

    • To develop state unit’s capacity to monitor, evaluate and conduct special studies


  • DATA FOR ACTION (MIS + Analytical System)

    • Minimize time between data collection and entry

    • Indicators that are useful for project management

    • User friendly dashboards at every level of the project

    • Data validation via social audit, external audit and computerized validation

    • Working with four state projects to provide technical assistance


  • Process Monitoring

    • Track key Implementation Processes

    • Rotating Sample

    • Reports that can be understood

    • Feedback loops

  • Community Based Monitoring

    • Data Validation and Accountability to SHGs

    • Integration with VO’s work

    • Integration with MIS

Impact evaluation core intervention
Impact Evaluation: Core Intervention

  • Core evaluations- formation and mobilization of SHGs and Village Organizations

    • Four ongoing evaluations (Bihar – Baseline Completed, TN – Baseline Completed, Orissa – Baseline Completed, Rajasthan – Baseline Completed, Maharashtra – Initiated)

  • Rigorous Methodologies (RCT, RDD, PSM)

  • Questions examined include a focus on key project objectives

  • Partnering with several scholars

Mixed method approach to evaluations
Mixed-Method Approach to Evaluations

Rigorous Quantitative Methods

“Well-being” broadly defined: Consumption, Income (where possible), Subjective Welfare, Empowerment and Agency, psychic well-being.

Careful, in-depth qualitative work to track mechanisms and processes of change

Impact evaluation vertical interventions
Impact Evaluation: “Vertical” Interventions

  • Designed to test vertical interventions, and pilots

  • RCT Designs (Ongoing)

    • Four evaluations

    • Food Security (Bihar) (mid-term completed)

    • Nutrition (AP)

    • Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture (AP)

    • System of Crop Intensification (SRI/SCI) (Bihar)

    • Incentivizing local governments to work with SHGs (TN)

Innovations and special studies
Innovations and Special Studies

  • Innovations

    • Using innovative designs to estimate the impact of the interventions and its pathways

      • Bihar Behavioral experiments - Ongoing

      • In-depth Qualitative Study of Change - Ongoing

      • Bihar Rural Income Panel – Design Phase

  • Special Studies

    • Link with research partners and provide inputs into research design

      • Case-Study of NRLM’s Resource Block Strategy - Completed

      • Skills (TN, Bihar and MP)

      • Community monitoring (Bihar)

Cross cutting an so initiative
Cross Cutting- An SO Initiative

Building links with key policy makers in other sectors

Outreach to Indian and international academic community

Creating networks of excellence on monitoring and evaluation

Plans to expand across the South Asia region

Livelihoods phase 2
Livelihoods – Phase 2

Create Sustainable Institutions

Make day to day decisions and mid-course adjustments based on real, reliable, validated data.

Think long term.

Stop the boot polish.