Innovative approach to evaluating interventions in fragile and conflict-affected states: the case of Helmand.

This working paper from Coffey International Development outlines the challenges faced when undertaking evaluation in fragile and conflict-affected states and provides a range of examples of innovative approaches used in Helmund, Afghanistan.  Methods discussed include using geo-spatial mapping, conducting research in insecure environments and the development and use of data-management systems for use in collaborative relationships between civilian and military agencies.


"In 2011, there can be few environments in which donors and military agencies are under more pressure to deliver and demonstrate results than Afghanistan yet, conversely, few environments where there is more of a challenge in doing so. The imperative to work towards a credible, conditions-based security transition makes 2011-2014 a crucial period for stakeholders engaged in Afghanistan. This, combined with the focus on measurable effect and pressure on value for money emphasised within recent UK strategies such as the Security and Defence Strategic Review (2010) and DFID White Paper (2009), necessitates more emphasis on results-based programming in order to make maximum use of shrinking public sector resources.

The tension between the scrutiny placed on delivering results in fragile states, combined with the inherent difficulty in conducting rigorous assessments in such contexts, demands an innovative approach to evaluation. Considering the challenges involved and the possible ways of addressing this brings together the conference’s central themes – the altered nature of the environments in which we work and the need to better understand them - as well as the central mission of the Cornwallis Group to provide a platform for the exposure of new ideas, problems, and techniques to contribute to international peace and stability." (Coffey International Development, 2011)


  • Challenges to evaluation in the Helmand context 6
    • Institutional and Political 6
    • Logistical 7
    • Cultural 7
  • HMEP: a cutting-edge M&E solution 8
    • Project Background and Overview 8
    • Data Collection 8
    • Analytical Thinking and Theory of Change 11
    • Presentational Features 13
    • Intelligent Use of Information 15
  • Future prospects for M&E in fragile states 15


Coffey International Development (2011), Innovative Approach to Evaluating Interventions in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States: The Case of Helmand. Retrieved from: