Thomas Kuby


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Institution: German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ)



Thomas Kuby, born in Germany in 1941, was trained in industrial design engineering in Chicago, Ulm and London. After his first employment with the Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) in London he went back to Germany in 1973 to join Bremen University as a curriculum planner for the newly established teacher training program. Subsequently he worked as a research assistant on "society and technology" at the Technical University of Berlin. From 1985 to 1987 he managed a large self help support program in Tanzania. A permanent staff member of GTZ headquarters since 1988, he was seconded to the Operations Evaluation Department of the World Bank in 1997 and now works as a senior professional in GTZ's Internal Evaluation Team. His main professional experiences are in appropriate technology, poverty reduction, and monitoring and evaluation.

Title: "GTZ’s ‘impact model’ for agricultural research."

Theme: 2A


How is agricultural research linked to a development result like poverty reduction? Several attempts have been made to describe the link in a systematic way. Often it is assumed that research impacts on development through the progressive multiplication of a small impulse, almost like an avalanche picks up momentum. But things might actually be considerably more complicated.

GTZ, the German Technical Cooperation Agency, uses an impact model for its internal evaluation work that identifies an attribution gap between project intervention and development change. This paper discusses the relevance of the concept for agricultural research. It argues that research impacts on development through a highly complex innovation process that, in most cases, does not allow for the establishment of straight cause-and-effect lines. The proposed model limits the impact assessment task of a research project to realistic dimensions; it suggests to complement project-related M&E with project-independent evaluation techniques that transcend the usual comparison of planned and actual achievements, allow for evaluation alliances and a build-up of local evaluation capacities. By discussing this two-pronged approach to impact assessment the paper points to new possibilities for establishing a plausible link between project activities and development results, thereby bridging the attribution gap

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