Mark Oldenbeuving

Design | Innovation | Programme Improvement
Mark Oldenbeuving

Mark Oldenbeuving

Hi, I’m Mark

I’m a development specialist based in London. My work focuses on the design and evaluation of international development projects.

I’m an independent consultant working on projects that foster evidence-based programming in international development and measure progress toward objectives. I’m currently working with Delivery Associates on a project that helps build an adaptive Results Based Management systems across the Lives and Livelihoods Fund.

I am committed to helping programme teams engage with the complexity of the problems they’re trying to solve. Together with colleagues, I developed a new approach to programme design and programme theory development. We recently published an article about the approach in the American Journal of Evaluation, and have built a website with more resources (more on this soon!).

Before going independent, I was part of Integrity‘s Monitoring and Evaluation team, and before that I worked in Palladium‘s Design and Innovation unit. I have lived and worked in India, Vietnam and Honduras. I hold an MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics and an MSc in Political Science from the University of Amsterdam.


Actor-based Change Framework

Despite a wide body of literature on the importance of programme theory and the need to tackle complexity to improve international development programming, the use of programme theory to underpin interventions aimed at facilitating change in complex systems remains a challenge to many programme practitioners and evaluators. Alongside colleagues at Palladium’s Design and Innovation team, I developed the Actor-based Change (ABC) Framework, which offers a pragmatic approach to address these challenges, integrating concepts and frameworks drawn from complexity science and behavioural change literature to develop robust programme theory for complex interventions.

We recently published an article about the approach in the American Journal of Evaluation. The framework was also presented at the AEA Evaluation Conferences of 20162017 and 2018, as well as at the UK Evaluation Conference in 2018

A brochure of the ABC Framework can be found here.

We recently developed a website on the approach, which provides resources and shares case studies of how the ABC Framework has been used to guide interventions and evaluation in real-world contexts. We will hopefully develop this website further soon!

Case study design

For the EVA-BHN programme in Pakistan,  I developed a new methodology for writing case studies that combines convincing storytelling with rigorous analysis of causal pathways. The methodology is based on the ABC Framework, which provides a structured approach for developing a programme theory for interventions in complex systems. I presented this new approach to case studies at the AEA Evaluation Conference in 2018.


I have implemented different aspects of the ABC Framework to aid the design, delivery and evaluation of several international development programmes. Below are some recent examples:

Lebanon Subsidised Temporary Employment Programme

Client: DFID | Country: Lebanon

The Subsidised Temporary Employment Programme (STEP) in Lebanon provides finance and employment incentives that will encourage small and medium-sized businesses to expand production and create new permanent jobs for Lebanese workers as well as temporary jobs for Syrians. As part of the programme inception, I co-facilitated a programme design workshop in Beirut.  We received very positive feedback from the client, who wrote that “the stakeholder mapping and delivery pathways work was very powerful”.

Propcom Mai-Karfi

Client: DFID | Country: Nigeria

Propcom Mai-Karfi is a rural and agricultural market development programme working across the 19 states of Northern Nigeria, which recently was extended to work in the Northeast of Nigeria. Drawing on our Actor-based Change (ABC) framework, in collaboration with the team’s extensive experience of market systems programming in Northern Nigeria, we were able to bridge the gap between theory and practice when facilitating change in complex market systems.

South Africa SMME Programme

Client: European Commission | Country: South Africa

In a participatory workshop with programme stakeholders, I facilitated the programme design, for the South Africa SMME programme. The programme aims to to support inclusive and sustainable economic growth and employment creation in South Africa, in order to reduce the official unemployment rate to 14% by 2020. It will do this through improving the competitiveness of small, micro and medium enterprises, improving their access to finance,  and improving the regulatory and administrative environment.

Programme Improvement

Empowerment, Voice and Accountability for Better Health and Nutrition

Client: DFID | Country: Pakistan

As part of the Provincial Health and Nutrition Programme (PHNP), Palladium’s Empowerment, Voice and Accountability for Better Health and Nutrition (EVA-BHN) project aims to empower, organise and facilitate citizens and civil society to hold the governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to account for the delivery of quality maternal and neonatal health services. As the programme learning adviser, I conceptualised and implemented a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system, based on the project Theory of Change that was developed using the new ABC Framework (mentioned in IDS publication here and here). I also presented this as a case study at the UK Evaluation Society conference in 2018.

Governance in Action

Client: DFID | Country: Kyrgyzstan

Governance in Action strengthens the Kyrgyz political system by improving the responsiveness of Parliament and political parties to citizens’ expectations and needs, and supporting civil society to work more effectively with government. As the Monitoring and Evaluation advisor, I support programme learning and adaptation, and developed a programme dashboard to share progress with the client.

Engaged Citizens Pillar

Client: DFID | Country: Nigeria

As part of the the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) programme in Nigeria, the Engaged Citizens (ECP) pillar works to ensure that citizens become increasingly more effective at influencing governance reform and delivery. I support the programme with implementing programme learning activities.