Private Enterprise Programme Ethiopia (PEPE) was a large FCDO-funded programme, with its MSD activities led by the consortium Enterprise Partners (EP).
This article presents lessons learnt from PEPE's ambitious monitoring and impact evaluations and reflects on the importance of the contributions to market system change that it made.
An impact evaluation of an MSD programme poses several methodological issues for evaluators. MSD interventions intend to change the contextual conditions in which stakeholders take business decisions so that it triggers change processes in the wider social system and ultimately benefits poor people.
The design of a programme impact evaluation needs, therefore, to be robust enough to adequately capture these systemic outcomes, acknowledging dynamic changes in intervention delivery as well as in market conditions over time. Theory-based evaluation can provide learning and accountability when it incorporates methods that allow a critical reflection on the key causal steps in an intervention’s theory of change.