If we’re committed to eradicating modern slavery and achieving Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7, it makes sense to gain a better understanding of “what works.” The Promising Practices Database aims to do just that: it was created in 2015 to collate evaluations of anti-slavery and counter-trafficking programs in a searchable format to determine what works – and what doesn’t – to eradicate modern slavery.
The Database is set up so policy makers, donors, and program designers can quickly identify what works – and what does not – through a simple search by country, target population, type or sector of slavery, or type of intervention.
It currently houses 179 evaluations covering all forms of modern slavery, including human trafficking, forced labour, and forced marriage. It includes interventions such as community empowerment programs, cash transfers, training for police, awareness raising campaigns, case management among other initiatives and activities.
The Database is currently undergoing an update to include program evaluations published between 2015 and 2020. It is due for release September 2021.
While the evidence base is patchy, programs are being assessed and data is being collected. There are currently 179 evaluations in the Database and this number is expected to grow in the next iteration.
It is important to use a cyclical approach to ensure that project design can build on prior learnings, and that relevant data is being collected during project implementation to support the assessment of impact at the end of the project.
A clear theory of change and clearly articulated relationships between the program objectives and the activities being implemented are fundamental to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of a project.
Too few evaluations measure the impact on modern slavery.Most evaluations assess the progress of the program (achievement of activities or outputs) or the outcomes of the program (achievement of objectives or overall outcomes) but not how the program impacted modern slavery, such as by decreasing the number of people in slavery, or changing behaviours that allow slavery to occur. To truly understands what works, we need to conduct more impact evaluations either in hotspots of slavery or across a particular type of intervention.
Evaluations are often opaque — it can be unclear which methodology and data sources were used. This undermines any conclusions made, while a clearer articulation of methods of analysis will allow more transparent conclusions to be drawn.