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Put Data to Work

IRI is committed to high-quality project evaluation, performance monitoring and rigorous research with systematic data collection to inform current and future programming.


Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

IRI prioritizes utilization-focused, participatory approaches in our monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) systems including during system design, data collection, and data analysis. Equipped with rich data, we implement politically-smart projects that lead to sustainable results. We continually evaluate our work to holistically take stock of program successes and identify areas for improvement. Our comprehensive MEL efforts lead to sustainable development outcomes and ensures accountability to funders and in-country partners.

Participatory Approach

Working alongside our partners to co-develop MEL systems and tools, the local context is considered at the outset leading to more relevant metrics to measure our progress. With on-the-ground perspectives embedded, we skillfully balance rigor with participant security to ensure our data collection is helpful. In Somaliland, we helped political parties develop capacity and needs-assessment tools and conduct a self-assessment of their sub-national branches. The assessment assisted the parties in preparing their local branches to take part in the presidential election campaign.

Adaptive Management

In complex and fluid environments, success requires flexible and adaptive project management. Our approach to adaptive management is guided by project monitoring data and politically informed contextual analysis to continually refine project activities. During the early years of Tunisia’s political transition, IRI used a developmental evaluation to support political party programming. This structure allowed evaluators to work alongside program teams and provide real-time data to inform program adaptation.

Capacity Building

To support our partner countries on their journey to self-reliance, we empower our collaborators to undertake meaningful monitoring, evaluation and learning efforts that guide their decision-making, not just fulfill funder requirements. By investing in our partners’ MEL capacity, we are preparing them to design and lead their countries’ own development priorities. 

Research and Public Opinion Data: Center for Insights in Survey Research (CISR)

Research and qualitative and quantitative public opinion data is a cornerstone of IRI’s approach to programming. Our data helps put citizens’ needs at the center of the political debate and guides our projects’ goals. To date, IRI has polled more than 1.3 million citizens in 70 countries.

IRI’s research approach integrates CISR’s methodological polling best practices protocol and field partner in-depth knowledge of the local research environment. This close collaboration begins at project design, with carefully calibrated sampling and instrument development, and continues throughout the entire fieldwork cycle to ensure in the collection of reliable qualitative and quantitative data.

After undergoing extensive quality control checks, the data is used to produce sound analysis, provide rich and actionable insights to decision makers and inform public policy and strategy.

Putting Data to Work for Citizens and Governments

The availability of reliable information is vital to a functioning democracy, as it allows for governments and citizens to interact constructively to address problems requiring political solutions. IRI’s quantitative and qualitative research informs politicians, civil society groups and other stakeholders of the currents of public opinion so that they can respond in an effective manner.

Our focus group reports on countering violent extremism in Kosovo and Tunisia have been used to brief policymakers on the dynamics driving vulnerable individuals to join extremist groups so that officials can craft better-informed policies to combat terrorism. Additionally, polls from IRI’s programs around the world—from Georgia to Bangladesh—are used to brief government officials, political parties and civil society groups on the issues of greatest concern to the people, ranging from concerns over ongoing wars to dissatisfaction with the condition of the roads and public services.

In authoritarian and transitioning countries, polling has enabled us to identify the areas of greatest need or opportunities to engage in programming that will help citizens advance democratic norms in their own countries. In Ukraine, IRI conducted a “mega poll” of more than 19,000 residents of 24 cities across the country to determine the progress of anti-corruption reform efforts on the local level. The responses to this survey have helped IRI to craft targeted, proactive programs designed to support anti-corruption efforts more effectively. Click HERE for more information on the mega poll.

Over a Decade of Experience

Since 1998, we have carried out polling and survey research programs in some of the world’s most challenging environments – from former Communist bloc countries following the fall of the Soviet Union to Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein. IRI has conducted more than 655 polls and surveyed more than 1.24 million people in 63 countries.

In Cuba, IRI conducted groundbreaking polling from 2007-2013 which provided the first-ever thorough analysis of citizen opinions on a range of topics such as access to Internet and cell phone usage, the outlook for Cuba’s economic future and the state of repression of everyday Cubans. In Serbia, our focus groups in 2014 helped the minister of economy to develop a plan to reform the country’s communist-era regulations, which were holding back investment and growth. A list of our polls can be found HERE.

The generous support of individuals and corporations enable IRI staff and volunteers to carry out its mission around the world. With your help, IRI will continue its mission of hope for decades to come.

IRI is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions are tax deductible

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