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Impact Evaluation in the Field: A Case Study on the Evaluation of an Improved Cookstove Initiative in Rural Guatemala. Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/h415pg25s

2017

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  • Improved cookstoves (ICS) have been distributed by many in the international development community to address the dangers faced by billions of people worldwide who use traditional open-fire cooking methods. Yet, impact evaluations of these ICS interventions have not always shown positive impacts. This case study followed the ICS adoption study being conducted by non-governmental organization in two communities of rural Guatemala. The intent of this case study was to incorporate qualitative methods to improve the understanding of the ICS intervention. Theoretical concepts of social space and the habitus were used to explore social dynamics of the target populations and the research team. Data was collected from household surveys and observation and semi-structured interviews in the two communities. Qualitative methods revealed how the higher social classification of individuals conducting the research often resulted in underserved positive feedback from community members, even when the donated ICS was not serving them well. This suggests a need to recognize social class dynamics in international development and improve our understanding of this phenomenon with future research. Several policy recommendations arose from this case study: to reduce the impact of the imbalance of power between the study participants and research team, to design impact evaluation studies to closely resemble the ICS implementation strategy used in the real-world setting, to increase focus on the market-driven model of cookstove promotion, and to encourage assessment of community needs in collaboration with community members.
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