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Realist evaluation of the Shiraka programme; government relations with the MENA region.

What we did

  • Partners: Dutch bilateral effort Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands of 18 million euro for 5 years (2016-2020) in collaboration with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and eight Dutch implementing partners.
  • Sector/aim: democratic transition, rule of law, and economic growth.
  • Region and target group: more than 40 projects and 10 trainings per year involving more than 1,000 government officials from 19 partners countries in the MENA region.

The impact

What made our evaluation meaningful?

The Shiraka programme is wide and complex, hence not one intervention fit all contexts. MDF used the realist evaluation approach. We identified What worked, in which circumstances, and for whom? Rather than merely evaluating 'Did it work'?  

In close consultation with the client, we reconstructed the Theory of Change and extracted the main change mechanisms (hypotheses), through which the programme components were expected to contribute to the desired outcomes. The data collection confirmed or refuted the hypotheses. It gave insights in the contextual factors that offer the most robust and plausible explanations of observed patterns of change.  

How is it impactful?

This way we were able to assess if and how the training and tailor-made exchanges contributed to improved performance of governmental entities. And if it led to strengthened political dialogue and diplomatic relations between the MENA countries and the Netherlands.  

Besides an evaluation report, we created an electronic magazine with attractive visualisations of the evaluation results. Its recommendations helped the clients and their implementing partners to strengthen the strategic logic and vision of the follow-up programme.

For general information

The Netherlands