Building Peaceful Societies Evidence Gap Map

Published date: 18 June 2019
Last modified date: 18 June 2019


This map facilitates access to the existing evidence base of interventions that aim to build peaceful societies in fragile contexts. The 2020 map updates and expands on the framework used in 3ie’s 2015 peacebuilding EGM.
Applying a broad conceptualisation of peacebuilding, grounded in the concept of human security, the Building Peaceful Societies EGM examines the evidence base for over 40 different interventions against 18 different outcomes associated with governance, social cohesion, violence reduction, human security, and/or resilience. Drawing on analysis of the 276 included studies, the EGM reveals concentrations of evidence, where we may know more than we think, and key gaps where limited or no evidence exists.

The map has been developed through a collaborative agreement between 3ie and the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval), made possible thanks to generous funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Main Findings

  • The evidence base is growing, but unevenly distributed among intervention types, with most of the research focusing on mental health and psychosocial support interventions.
  • There is a lack of evidence for several countries that have both high levels of fragility and development assistance (including Syria, South Sudan and Yemen).
  • Most existing studies do not address gender and equity.
  • There are few impact evaluations of complex, multicomponent interventions, despite recognition of the value of multicomponent approaches to securing sustainable peace.
  • Roughly a third of studies used key methods to address complexity in impact evaluation, such as theories of change or mixed-methods approaches, though fragile contexts are commonly recognised as complex.
  • Only five studies reported any measures of cost-effectiveness, although this is an important question for programme funders and decision makers.
  • An alarming number of studies do not report internal review board approvals even though the studies involve vulnerable population groups.

Original map publication date: 18 June 2019

Current map date of publication: 18 June 2019

Online map citation:

Sonnenfeld, A, Chirgwin, H, Berretta, M, Longman, K, Krämer, M and Snilstveit, B, 2020. Building peaceful societies: an evidence gap map [Online]. New Delhi: International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie). Available at:

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