Impact measurement and capacity enhancement
In 2011, War Child introduced a project administration system to better record participants, project activities, and costs. Updated output information - such as the type of activity, and number of participants - is entered regularly for each project, making it possible to monitor the progress of projects over the course of the year. Outcome information - the effect that the project has on the lives of beneficiaries - is also recorded in the system, allowing War Child to evaluate the effect of projects on children’s lives over time.
In order to verify the quantitative data produced by the system, War Child involves children in internal qualitative research. Through activities such as role playing games at the beginning of the project, local teams are able to make an initial observation that can be used as a starting point to measure children’s progress throughout the project; for example, a child’s ability to speak in front of a group (to measure self-confidence), ability to interact with his or her peers in social settings, or knowledge of child rights. Project officers use scorecards that describe the intended effects in four stages, from children having no knowledge or demonstrating undesired behaviour to children having relevant knowledge and demonstrating desired behaviour. These scorecards were used more and more in projects in 2012.
Effectiveness and sustainability
In order to continuously improve programmes, results are evaluated externally at the mid-point and end of each project in terms of effectiveness and sustainability. Both qualitative and quantitative information is collected through observation, interviews, and focus group discussions involving all programme stakeholders. The operational systems of the project - finance, human resources, and efficiency - are also evaluated.
Dilemmas in measuring outcomes and impact
Some dilemma’s and how War Child manages them:
- Indicators that accurately signify positive and long-lasting changes in children’s wellbeing can be very subjective, difficult to quantify, and vary between cultures. Therefore War Child cooperates with other international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), universities, and relevant networks, such as the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), to further develop instruments and tools to evaluate its programmes.
- Implementation of monitoring systems in the field is difficult. Registration of data in a central system is time consuming and programme and partner staff has to be trained well in order to get valid data. War Child provides training and simplifies the system every year. War Child continuously supports the implementation of outcome monitoring to learn and adapt projects where possible.
- Evaluation results are not always evidence-based. War Child developed a new evaluation policy with clear guidelines to further improve the quality of the external evaluations.
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