Meta-evaluation and synthesis review 2016

In 2016 we conducted a review of 26 evaluation reports, covering our work in specific countries and individual programmes.

Key findings about volunteering

  • VSO interventions made people's lives better by improving the quality of and access to services in education and health.
  • Volunteers are often crucial in encouraging collaboration and developing new networks.
  • Our contribution to change is more complex than suggested by the existing Global Theory of Change.

Key finding about the evaluations

  • The majority of the reports written and conducted by VSO staff scored 'minimum' standard, which performed better than externally authored ones.
  • Evaluations rated fairly well at including the perspectives of primary actors in the evidence. 
  • Evaluations were still weak on involving the people we are trying to help from the beginning of the evaluation.

Download the full report and recommendations [PDF]

Local nurse with a mother and a newborn baby
©VSO/Tim Maynard

Our research

Research reports and more information about our approach to evidence-based programming

Staff at a care facility in Sri Lanka supported by VSO

Our evaluations

Timely evaluation plays a critical role in understanding the contribution we make in delivering sustainable development.

Our evaluation strategy

How we work to embed an organisation-wide culture of learning and evaluation.