Assessment of Outcome Mapping as a tool for evaluating and monitoring support to civil society organisations EASY-ECO Vienna 2008 Stephen Powell, Joakim Molander & Ivona Čelebičić proMENTE social research, Sarajevo
Who are we
Steve Powell & Ivona Čelebičić proMENTE social research, Sarajevo
Joakim Molander: at the time of the evaluation, First Secretary at the Swedish Embassy, Sarajevo
Govt. in B&H barely functional
Civil society fills the gap?
Support people and networks
How to evaluate?
Explorative evaluation of six civil society projects
Sida-funded civil society programming: lessons on sustainability
Exploration of OM as a tool
OM worked well for civil society evaluation
OM plays well with other approaches
Sustainability ↔ focus on “key players”
OM can be part of a patchwork , rather than monolithic , approach to M&E
Our project in B&H: 1 donor, 3 framework partners, 6 implementing partners, 6 projects: 2007 "Improvement of access to justice – Raising public awareness on access to rights, legislative changes and legal procedures in BiH Vasa Prava Work with judges and journalists on Press Code BiH Press Council (funded by SHC) Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights "Citizen in action"– Project of community-based advocacy campaigns for solving priority citizens problems from "Civic Platform for 2006 Elections". "Local Government leadership building activities" Civil Society Promotion Center – GROZD, "Citizen in action" Academy for political leaders Helsinki Citizens Assembly (HCA) – Academy for political leaders) Olof Palme International Center Village activities (including round tables in towns) Most Womens political lobby Zenski Centar Kvinna til Kvinna Evaluated activity Partner organisation Framework organisation
OM: 12 steps Helping the implementing partner to learn Internal M &E Considering all the dimensions of strategy Focus on outcomes 11. Performance journal 7. Organisational practices Evaluation Outcome & performance monitoring Intentional design 10. Strategy journal 6. …Strategy maps 12. Evaluation plan 8. Monitoring priorities 9. Outcome journals 5. ...Progress markers 4. ...Outcome challenges 3. ...Boundary partners 2. Mission 1. Vision
Assessment of planning strategies using strategy maps
OM interview with boundary partners (+ relevance interviews )
OM interview with implementing partners (+ relevance interviews )
Writing evaluation-start Outcome Journals
Confirming evaluation-start Outcome Journals
OM questionnaires (same as evaluation-start)
OM interview with boundary partners (on the basis of evaluation-start interview) (+ relevance interviews )
OM interview with implementing partners (on the basis of evaluation-start interview) (+ relevance interviews )
Assessment of management progress using existing strategy maps
Mission and vision: still relevant? Changed focus?
Gathering contextual information and intervention timeline
Baseline interim final assessment
Message 1: OM worked well with civil society evaluation
Most organisations succeeded in redefining changes in a small group of boundary partners as the main component of their vision
Focus on contribution is a big relief
Gives richer feedback
Strategy maps inspire and organise thinking about different dimensions of planning
OM standard method and questionnaires, (and interviews?) showed projects making progress towards their vision
Consider problem-based rather than vision-based programming. Vision is not always about boundary partner change
Message 2: OM plays well with other approaches
2a: Qualitative methods
Gained a lot of additional information with systematic content analysis of independent “relevance interviews”
“ A good part of the population is used to some sort of humanitarian aid, some sort of social help, mercy, call it what you will. This means that nobody has to work and, at the same time, they get something. We can set our sights lower but we don’t need to invest anything. ”
2b: quantitative analysis
For four projects, a customised questionnaire was made on the basis of progress markers.
Questionnaire filled in at baseline and again at final assessment
Results from around 100 baseline and 100 final assessment questionnaires compared on a per-project basis.
Validation of OM evaluation methods?
Less clear progress with the least educated
2b: quantitative analysis
Results for one project: average scores on progress marker questionnaires
at evaluation end
Small but significant overall improvement
Corresponds to information from OM interviews & journals
Women start lower than men and improve more than men
In spite of a possible tendency to “raise the bar” during the project “soft” interpretation
2c: implementing partners and boundary partners do not agree on “difficulty” of progress markers
involve boundary partners in planning!! – especially the poor
Love to see / like to see / expect to see Average baseline score for one project
2d: problems with OM + RBM
Avoiding a double workload:
OM for monitoring OM for planning and reporting
Better planning: OM could/should be adopted by donors from the project application stage (or as a hybrid)
Donors have to want to help organisations to learn, at the cost of demonstrating effectiveness
Message 3: Sustainability ↔ focus on real people!
3a: differentiate your boundary partners
Especially in civil society, b oundary partner groups can be usefully divided into "less powerful", "potentially powerful" and "powerful".
Even within one group, d istinguish clearly between partners who are at different levels of development towards , or agreement with , the outcome challenge .
3b: focus on “key players”
= boundary partners or implementing partners??
The y believe that change is possible through the efforts of individuals.
Civil society not a mass movement! H andful of key ( “career” ) activists and organisations
They have “first name and family name” and are not interchangeable or easily replaceable; yet invisible on paper
3c: A taboo: motivation
Why would these people want to play along? Money a taboo? If we aren’t using sticks, do we have juicy carrots?
Careers advice for activists? Business support for NGOs?
3d: Another taboo: personality
E ffective activists are not necessarily effective bureaucrats (Easterly) . Should they be?
Personality is hard to change Differential skills are needed (talking to parliament, then villagers)
Message 4: OM can be part of a patchwork , rather than monolithic , approach to M&E
4a: the monolithic approach
RBM: killing the birds of project and program planning, control, monitoring and evaluation with one stone?
Impacts … outcomes … outputs … Causation Data aggregation
Control: gathering data via a chain in which every link has a vested interest in lying
Monitoring: ticking boxes at the expense of strategic thinking and organisational learning
Evaluation: Can you calculate impacts by aggregating outputs? Are NGOs competent to measure outcome and impact directly? Is it their job?
Program Project B Project A
4b: OM is only part of a (patchwork) solution
Better control: release NGOs from exhausting box-ticking and implement fair random checking of outputs.
Better planning and monitoring: use OM where appropriate
Better management : in exchange, require elements of strategic planning and organisational learning.
Demonstrate donor-relevant impact: commission independent, external investigations of society change and why it happens/happened
Sharpen the focus: help NGOs to do empirical explorations of a selection of specific issues that really interest them