Friday, June 7, 2013

Impact Assessment, Measuring the Impact of your Programme or Project

Impact Assessment, understanding the reality!

Measuring the impact of developmental support for Poverty Reduction in countries that are struggling to improve the livelihoods of its peoples can indeed be a challenge at times. Monitoring and Evaluation over the years has tried to answer these questions as to the impact and the change of livelihoods of the beneficiaries. In most instances it has been a major challenge to actually attribute the impact to your developmental support especially when there have a wide range of players also doing the same. In trying to reduce poverty for people in the world, millions of funds have been channeled purely to this aim but in Monitoring and Evaluating the effects of such an intervention has proven difficult throughout the years basically sometimes due to number of challenging factors. But inview of the preceeding, its important to realize what an impact assessment is and why it can be a challenge to measure impact. An example will be drawn from the reduction of poverty in an area of implementation you are based in.

Working to tell a story with Impact Assessments

An Impact Assessment is basically an in depth research or survey that aims to understand, reflect, measure and draw conclusions on the long term developmental changes produced as a result of a developmental action. When you have a programme that has the intention of reducing the poverty levels in an area the real issue of the Impact Assessment should be measuring if that actually happened. Whether it was success or not you want to understand why? What worked and what didn't work. In the view of poverty, there are a lot of players when it comes to poverty reduction such interventions from the local government, interventions from the developmental organizations, change in mindset of the programme beneficiaries and political climate. However all these have to be explained clearly in order to completely satisfy the information needs of all the users.That brings us back to the point of how do you attribute your organization developmental support to poverty reduction in an area when there are so many factors as mentioned above such as political climate, local government support and other support from other organizations, the Impact Assessment should adequately cover all that. Lessons drawn from Impact Assessments should strengthen the Monitoring and Evaluation component of every organization in the world.

Measuring Programme Success or Failure with an Impact Assessment

It is notably or significantly important to be able to understand how vital it is to see your programme succeed in all respects. But what exactly is success or failure? In the case of poverty reduction, you must understand that there are a whole lot of factors that can lead to poverty reduction or poverty increase but as implementers of a programme the question is, what do you as implementers have control of and what don't you have control of. Poverty may not even change significantly over the years but does it really mean the programme has really failed? When doing an Impact Assessment it will definitely be hard to measure success or failure of a programme, but when drawing conclusions especially with impacts like poverty reduction you as a person responsible for Monitoring and Evaluation have to look at things holistically understanding all the factors contributing to change. In short, don't beat yourself so hard if your developmental programme may not really see an improvement in the change of well-fare especially if you were actually delivering the inputs. Therefore what is the point her? Impact Assessment should accurately capture the success or failure considering all the factors involved that contributes to change.


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