The Demographic and Health Surveys
Over 90 countries have conducted a Demographic and Health Survey. Financially supported by USAID for thirty years, MEASURE DHS is the single largest and most respected source of demographic, health and social data for low and middle income countries.
Over the years the surveys have been more complex, involving larger samples and an ever increasing number of topics from HIV prevalence to water quality.
Ann Larson was a member of a three person review team. We conducted the first independent evaluation of the DHS program in 15 years, with a focus on the quality of technical assistance and capacity building. MEASURE DHS (now called The DHS Program) is deservedly praised on the quality of their work, including technical assistance. The committed team are trialling new methods to increase capacity. These will be even more effective if explicit outcomes are set and greater use is made of local and regional institutions. The final report can be downloaded here.
The review was a mixed-methods evaluation using online surveys of USAID missions, interviews with stakeholders and end users in the US government and internationally and four country case studies: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Malawi and Tanzania.