The complexity of development and social change and growing tensions between dominant results-based and emerging learning and improvement-based approaches to evaluating development interventions have created major challenges for the evaluation of communication for development (C4D). Drawing on our recent research, we identify significant tensions, challenges and issues in evaluating C4D. They include contextual and institutional challenges, problems with attribution and unrealistic timeframes, a lack of capacities in both evaluation and C4D, and a lack of appreciation, funding and support for approaches that are more appropriate for the evaluation of C4D.
We propose various strategies that can help to address these challenges and issues, including using a rigorous mixed methods approach, and implementing long-term, holistic evaluation capacity development at all levels and our new framework for evaluating C4D. These and other strategies can help to create a supportive environment in which new ideas and approaches can flourish, more sustainable outcomes of C4D can be achieved, and C4D organisations can become more sustainable and effective. The implications for C4D policy are considered.