Download StudyGeneral

Study Overview

Peacebuilding Fund Impact Evaluation, Learning, and Dissemination Phase 1 (PeaceFIELD1) in Darfur, Sudan
Study is 3ie funded:
Study ID:
Initial Registration Date:
Last Update Date:
Study Status:
In Development

Conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan has been ongoing since 2003. Access to land and natural resources is at the root of myriad conflicts in the areas and states that compose the region, with farming and herding populations competing for increasingly scarce water, fields, and pastures. Still, the Juba Declaration of 2019, that preceded the October 2020 Peace Agreement, represents an encouraging step toward building sustainable peace.

Within the context of a series of national and international efforts to build a comprehensive peace, the government of Sudan requested that the country be declared eligible for the Peacebuilding Fund, with funding for three priority areas identified for Darfur, namely Rule of Law; Durable Solutions; and Peacebuilding at the community-level.

Collectively, the Fund’s projects support the peaceful, sustainable return and (re)integration of displaced persons through a bundle of interventions including: enhancing the rule of law, providing access to basic services, and building a vibrant civil society in all five states of Darfur.

PeaceFIELD1 will conduct an impact evaluation of this programming using a difference-in-differences design, comparing changes in key outcome indicators derived from the projects’ theories of change. We will compare areas where Peacebuilding Fund investments were implemented and places where it was not in order to test the impact of these interventions on peace and conflict outcomes within different groups of population.

Registration Citation:

Thissen, P., Ansari, S., Ferguson, N.T.N., and Martinez, S. (2021). “PeaceFIELD1 Darfur: Impact evaluation of a bundle of interventions supported by the UN Peacebuilding Fund”

Additional Keywords:
Peacebuilding, Sudan, Darfur, Rule of Law, Land Tenure
Secondary ID Number(s):

Principal Investigator(s)

Name of First PI:
Paul Thissen
Name of Second PI:
Sara Ansari, Neil T. N. Ferguson, Sebastian Martinez
3ie (Ansari, Martinez); ISDC (Ferguson)

Study Sponsor

German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO)
Study Sponsor Location:

Research Partner

Name of Partner Institution:
International Security and Development Center (ISDC)
Type of Organization:
Research institute/University

Intervention Overview


The UN Peacebuilding Fund has supported an interrelated set of five projects across Darfur's five states. Collectively, the projects support the peaceful, sustainable return and (re)integration of displaced persons. Project components include support for the peaceful resolution of land disputes, the provision of basic services, efforts to bolster civil society organizations representing marginalized groups, and grants for women to help them launch income-generating activities. Designed with a unified theory of change, the programming is being implemented by five UN agencies: UNDP, UNHABITAT, UNHCR, UNICEF, and the FAO.

Examples of activities include: the establishment of land steering, natural resource management, and community-based protection committees; the construction of police posts and water yards; the provision of learning materials to school children; the provision of grants to youth organizations; support for residents obtaining birth certificates; and training for education officials, police officials, community structures, youth, and land demarcation officials.

The intervention was not designed to have multiple treatment arms. However, project implementation by different UN agencies did not always occur in the same locations, creating some degree of de facto different treatment arms. The research teams are still analysing the implementation rollout in order to determine whether different treatment arms will be included in the evaluation.

Theory of Change:

The overarching strategic priority is to consolidate and sustain peace in Darfur. Lasting and just peace requires durable solutions for IDPs and refugees, whose return to communities of origin is impeded by land disputes, physical security concerns and absence of rule of law, and inadequate provision of basic services. The project will support the new Government to rebuild trust and social contract with all sections of the population, establishing conditions for IDP and refugee returns, through an inclusive rights-based approach to peacebuilding at the community level.

Therefore, by developing mechanisms and capacities necessary for conflict resolution at the local level, and ability to hold the government accountable, we can build and renew trust between government and communities. Just resolution of property and land disputes, increased presence of rule of law, and access to basic services will thus provide a conducive environment for IDPs and refugees to return to their communities of origin. With strengthened accountability mechanisms, these projects aim to help ensure that future conflicts are overcome in a peaceful and just manner.

This impact evaluation focuses on the effects of the bundle of services as a whole, encompassing distinct mechanisms for different project components. The theory is that meeting residents' compound needs for service provision and improved governance can promote a peaceful society.

Multiple Treatment Arms Evaluated?

Implementing Agency

Name of Organization:
Type of Organization:

Program Funder

Name of Organization:
United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (UN PBF)
Type of Organization:

Intervention Timing

Intervention or Program Started at time of Registration?
Start Date:
End Date:
Evaluation Method

Evaluation Method Overview

Primary (or First) Evaluation Method:
Difference in difference/fixed effects
Other (not Listed) Method:
Additional Evaluation Method (If Any):
Other (not Listed) Method:

Method Details

Details of Evaluation Approach:

Using the household survey conducted by the IOM as baseline data, as well as information on program implementation from UN agencies, we will first locate geographic areas (villages) that received treatment and areas that have been surveyed by the IOM but did not receive treatment. Based on this information, we will then design a difference-in-differences study with comparison and treatment groups, possibly with multiple treatment arms as noted above based on implementation differences. PBF final independent evaluations, conducted by the implementing agencies, will add qualitative midline data that can provide insights into which control villages are most likely to have parallel trends as compared to treatment villages. The endline data collection effort will aim to capture changes in the outcome variables between the two groups, using a more focused sampling approach as compared to the baseline.

Given that only one quantitative baseline survey is available, we will collect detailed qualitative data – beyond what will be included in the PBF final independent evaluation – to establish that trends were parallel between treatment and control areas. This qualitative data will include demographic characteristics of villages, economic characteristics of villages, details of other aid projects that have been implemented recently, and histories of recent shocks (including both conflict shocks, political shocks, and climate shocks). Through this data, we will identify the control villages that are most similar to the treatment villages in terms of their economic activities and political positions, and which are therefore most likely to have parallel trends before the intervention.

Depending on what the qualitative data reveals about land use and farming practices, we will also investigate the viability of using satellite data to test parallel trends in agricultural production.

Outcomes (Endpoints):

All outcome variables should be considered intermediate outcomes. The final outcome of interest is peace (the absence of violence); however, large-scale peace and violence outcomes are too multicausal, rare, noisy, and driven by country-level events to be useful for measurement at this scale.

Potential outcome variables we will use include: perceptions of government services, school participation by youth, access to water, intentions for households to relocate, security of land tenure for dwellings, perceptions of the effectiveness of community resolution mechanisms for land conflict, security of land tenure for fields, small-scale reports of conflict over land, reports of small-scale interpersonal violence, and reports of perceptions of local safety. We also expect to develop index outcome variables which combine several of the above outcomes. Details of all these outcome measures, as well as the corrections we will perform for multiple hypothesis testing, will be in our forthcoming pre-analysis plan.

Unit of Analysis:
Two conceptual units of analysis may be considered: the village level and "cohorts" within a pseudo-panel analysis. Details will be in our forthcoming pre-analysis plan.

Villages which received the PBF-supported bundle will have:

-- higher perceptions of the quality of government services

-- higher school participation by youth

-- better access to water

-- lower intentions for families to relocate

-- higher rates of secure land tenure for dwellings and fields

-- higher perceptions of land tenure security

-- lower reports of land conflict

-- higher perceptions of local safety

Unit of Intervention or Assignment:
Some programs were implemented at the village-level, some were implemented at the locality level, whereas some others were implemented at the state-level. We are in the process of obtaining details.
Number of Clusters in Sample:
The research team is still identifying the precise number of clusters (villages) to be targeted for the endline survey and the impact evaluation.
Number of Individuals in Sample:
The research team is still identifying the precise number of individuals to be targeted for the endline survey and the impact evaluation.
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
To be determined based on additional details about implementation and the endline survey.

Supplementary Files

Analysis Plan:
20230310a PBF Darfur PAP.docx
Other Documents:

Outcomes Data

For baseline data, we will rely on the household survey conducted across the five states of Darfur by the IOM between November 2020 and May 2021 . That survey includes respondents from approximately 11,000 households. For endline data, we will rely on a household survey which is scheduled to begin around November 2022. Endline data collection will also include key informant interviews and observations in villages wherever possible.
Data Already Collected?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
Approval Status:

Treatment Assignment Data

Participation or Assignment Information:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
Approval Status:

Data Analysis

Data Analysis Status:

Study Materials

Upload Study Materials:

Registration Category

Registration Category:
Prospective, Category 1: Data for measuring impacts have not been collected

Completion Overview

Intervention Completion Date:
Data Collection Completion Date:
Unit of Analysis:
Clusters in Final Sample:
Total Observations in Final Sample:
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:


Preliminary Report:
Preliminary Report URL:
Summary of Findings:
Paper Summary:
Paper Citation:

Data Availability

Data Availability (Primary Data):
Date of Data Availability:
Data URL or Contact:
Access procedure:

Other Materials

Survey Instrument Links or Contact:
Program Files:
Program Files Links or Contact:
External Link:
External Link Description:
Description of Changes:

Study Stopped