Online Course on Impact Assessment and Poverty Alleviation: Focus on Technology and Capacity Development (Online IA PA TCD)

Date: 18 July to 7 November 2020

Background and Rationale

Substantial resources are allocated by governments, civil society, non-government organizations, and the private sector for development projects. Many of these projects are aimed at poverty alleviation. These programs and projects are streamlined to address part of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. The agenda recognizes that “ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth, all the while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. (

Owing to the substantial resources given to development projects and their importance in alleviating the situation of the poor in developing countries, there is a need to assess their impact on the people and communities where they are implemented. There is reluctance to carry out impact assessment of development projects because they are seen as expensive, time consuming, too technical, and sometimes, the findings may be politically sensitive. However, an exhaustive evaluation can be influential in assessing the appropriateness and effectiveness of development projects and programs. In developing countries where resources are scarce, evaluating impact of such projects and programs is critical to ensure that every dollar spent must be maximized to reduce poverty.

SEARCA has previously collaborated with the UP Open University (UPOU) and the UPOU Foundation, Inc. in the offering of two non-formal online courses on climate change. SEARCA believes that offering the online course on IA PA TCD through UPOU would allow a wider reach to learners who may benefit from the course.

Course Goal

This 16-week course is designed as an introductory e-learning course that provides an appreciation of basic knowledge of impact assessment, its issues, tools, and how its results are best communicated to advocate policy issues and influence policy formulation.

Specifically, the online course aims to:

  1. Provide an overview of the impact assessment process, concepts of poverty, measurement of poverty, and important issues related to poverty analysis;
  2. Discuss statistical tools that may be used in the different steps of the impact assessment process; and
  3. Provide guidelines for presenting impact assessment results for policy formulation and advocacy.


The course will cover five main modules and corresponding subtopics:

Module 1: Introduction to Impact Evaluation (2 weeks)
  1. Why evaluate?
  2. Types of evaluation
  3. What is impact assessment (IA)?
    • Criteria in choosing programs for impact assessment
    • IA framework
    • Steps in data collection
  4. Theory of change
    • Results chain
  5. Causality and counterfactuals
Module 2: Research Design (3 weeks)
  1. Introduction
  2. Qualitative Research Designs
  3. Quantitative Research Designs
Module 3: Measurement and Indicators (3 weeks)
  1. Data requirements for impact assessment
    • What kind of data do I need?
    • Data requirements for impact assessment
    • Steps in data collection
  2. Impact assessment indicators
    • What is an indicator?
    • Characteristics of a good indicator
    • Types of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) indicators
  3. Data collection techniques
Module 4: Randomized Experiments: The Gold Standard (4 weeks)
  1. Randomization techniques
  2. Threats to randomized experiments
  3. Probability sampling methods
  4. Sample size determination
  5. Power calculations
Module 5: Quasi-experimental Designs (4 weeks)
  1. Difference-in-Difference (DID) method
  2. Propensity Score Matching (PSM) method
  3. Instrumental Variable (IV) method
  4. Regression Discontinuity (RD) method

Enrollment starts on 22 June 2020. Interested participants may register online using the online sign-up form at FMDS-CEP Online Sign-up Form, or visit the Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), UPOU Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines. Details of course offering will be emailed a month before the start of class. (This includes the admission form with the assessment of fees and payment procedures).

Schedule of Course Offerings

For inquiries, please email FMDS at or call (+63 49) 536 6010.