Mixing methods for holistic project evaluations: revisiting Nepal's home garden project through a qualitative lens uri icon

abstract

  • The project entitled ?Enhancing the contribution of home gardens to on-farm management of plant genetic resources and to improve the livelihoods of Nepalese farmers?, was led by Bioversity International and implemented by Nepalese NGO LI-BIRD between 2002 and 2013. An evaluation using primarily quantitative methods concluded that the project had made a substantial contribution to biodiversity conservation and livelihoods. A subsequent qualitative study deepened understanding of how and why the project also improved gender equality and social inclusion; illuminating the value of combining qualitative and quantitative methods in project evaluations based on four considerations. First, the qualitative analysis helped contextualize the project within the larger system in which it was embedded, pointing to a confluence of factors external to the project that facilitated livelihood changes. Then, while quantitative methods are most useful for identifying trends, qualitative methods were critical for interpreting these trends. Third, the qualitative analysis illuminated unanticipated project outcomes, which participants themselves perceived as meaningful, in participants? own terms. Finally, qualitative research allowed local interests to be identified and built upon when planning future initiatives. If the purpose of impact assessments is not only accountability but also learning, combining quantitative and qualitative methods is needed to enable the breadth and depth of analysis required in the learning process.This publication is part of Bioversity International?s series of Impact Assessment Briefs

publication date

  • 2016
  • 2016