Evaluating development interventions in peace-precarious situations
International development assistance tackles sociopolitical and socioeconomic problems, typically with formal host government and population buy-in (or acquiescence), in settings with complex interrelated challenges. A new subset of contemporary interventions, however, faces all of the usual development challenges plus security threats affecting foreign and local staff, host country leadership, and local counterparts necessary for generating sustainable improvements. Threats can arise as a function of individuals’ roles in promoting development. Evaluations of the results of development interventions in peace-precarious situations not only confront the same extra challenges implementation does in these settings, but must also account for the consequences of a panoply of interactive intangibles, shifting dynamically over time. Salient contextual features shaping feasible and useful approaches to evaluation in peace-precarious situations include adherence to management and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems; elasticity in design and resources; and dynamics of stakeholder politics and broader political relationships.