The EFC led an endeavor with researchers at the UNC School of Government and Virginia Tech to assess the effectiveness and achievement of the Appalachian Regional Commission’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects that occurred between 2009 and 2016.
The program evaluation measured the success the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) had in meeting strategic goals, improved economic development and quality of life in grantee communities, innovating and scaling-up promising practices, and enhancing program objectives.
The project team included highly-qualified, nationally-known group of evaluators, practitioners, and researchers to carry out a series of integrated tasks to achieve these goals. The team conducted a series of integrated activities designed to gain insight from analysis of industry trends, literature reviews, existing ARC project data supplemented with other existing datasets, a targeted survey of ARC project grantees, interviews and feedback sessions, and on-the-ground case study analysis including video reporting.
In evaluating these past undertakings of ARC, the team was able to effectively identify the most promising practices for the ARC’s investment in the future. These future investments depend on using evidenced-based methods, which in turn depend on gathering valid and reliable longitudinal data, married with important contextual information gathered through the focus groups and practitioner review. This method will also create databases to enhance ARCnet, as well as visualize the data in an interactive information system that ARC staff could use for customized analyses.
The program evaluation followed a mixed methods approach and assessed the impact of these projects on quality of life and economic development within the Region.
The report of this program evaluation includes an Executive Summary, key findings and recommendations for ARC, 14 written case studies, and a literature and practice review of innovations within the water/wastewater sector. In addition, an infographic and five video case studies were developed. View all resources on the Resources tab above, or on ARC's website.