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The Project Impact Pathway

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An 8-step guide to help not-for-profit organizations develop a Project Impact Pathway or Logic Model for their programs - The first presentation in our Project Evaluation Series. By DevMetrica

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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The Project Impact Pathway

  1. 1. Evaluation Planning Project Evaluation Series The Project Impact Pathway
  2. 2. Introduction Project Monitoring and Evaluation make it possible to identify and reflect upon the effects of a project, and judge its worth. Results allow project managers, beneficiaries, partners and donors to learn from the experience and improve future interventions. Data analysis helps internal and external stakeholders understand your project’s impact.
  3. 3. Stages in Monitoring & Evaluation Evaluation and the project cycle • Good evaluation should be considered an integral part of a project, not an separate activity, only this way will it effectively benefit learning and growth. There are four main stages to evaluation 1) Planning and Design 2) Monitoring (during implementation) 3) Review and Evaluation 4) Assessment and Learning This presentation introduces planning activities • The Project Impact Pathway (in 8 simple steps!) - Also known as a Logic Model or Theory of Change or Causal Chain Project Evaluation Cycle
  4. 4. Stage 1: Planning Project Inputs Project Activities Project Beneficiaries Project Outputs Behavioral Changes Direct Outcomes Impact
  5. 5. The Project Impact Pathway Why do we need a map? 1. Help focus an organization’s efforts towards a predefined goal by putting (often complex) components into a single strategic plan that logically presents the main activities that will need to happen in order to achieve the project’s objective 2. Tell a convincing story so that donors and stakeholders can quickly see how the intervention works and the impact that you hope to achieve 3. Provide the basis for an evaluation strategy by outlining the mechanism by which the project will have a positive social or environmental impact 4. Building a Project Impact Pathway as a team can help bring greater understanding and cohesion around a project’s mission and process
  6. 6. Building a Project Impact Pathway Overview • This presentation is a guide that is meant to facilitate planning, but each project is different and each organization may need to adapt these tools to best suit their mission and activities • It may be difficult to complete all the steps in order. If you get stuck, skip a step and come back to it later • This process is best achieved as a group with project team members and potential beneficiaries (if possible) • This presentation can be supplemented with Form: Worksheet_EVAL_PIP Hint: Project Impact Pathways can change over time as your organization’s capacity grows or if program objectives change.
  7. 7. Building a Project Impact Pathway Step #1 - Define the problem Start by describing the overall social and/or environmental issue that your project is designed to address: • Try to be as specific and local as possible • If possible, quantify or estimate the magnitude of the problem in your community • If your project is intended to resolve multiple issues, focus on the single most relevant issue where you believe the project will have the greatest impact Example: • The unemployment rate among young people is over 20% in our region, resulting in many young men and women (16-24 year olds) leaving in search of opportunities in other jurisdictions HINT: Summarize the issue into a single sentence, while keeping more detailed and specific information in a folder that can be referenced when required (for proposals, reports, your website, etc.) Problem
  8. 8. Describe the global outcome that you hope the project will effect • Should be a direct response to the problem defined in Step #1 • Outcomes are usually a desired change in the well-being of people in the community, such as better health, reduced vulnerability or improved literacy • On the other-hand, the general impact may be on your community’s natural environment or its economy • Overall, the impact should answer why your particular project is important, using the most precise response possible Building a Project Impact Pathway Step #2 - Define the impact Example: • Recent graduates and young people have increased opportunities to work, youth unemployment decreases and more remain in the region Impact
  9. 9. Building a Project Impact Pathway Step #3 - Describe the project activities What are the goods and/or services that your project will produce? • This step simply answers the question “what is your project?” • The response should directly describe the main activities of your project • This is project specific and will be different for short-term versus long-term initiatives (e.g.. we will plant 100 trees vs. we will organize a community group to manage local parks by…) Example: • Through active outreach, our project promotes the benefits of hiring local youth and manages a website where young people connect with local employers to find work Project Activities
  10. 10. Building a Project Impact Pathway The foundation of the pathway (Step 2) (Step 1) (Step 3) Problem Project Inputs Project Activities Project Beneficiaries Project Outputs Behavioral Changes Direct Outcomes Impact
  11. 11. List the specific things that you will need to start the project • This may include inputs already available or inputs that are still required for the project to start • DON’T worry about being too specific or comprehensive • DO try to list the most important inputs for your project to work • The list should fill in the blank: IF we have __________ Inputs THEN we can undertake our Project Activity Building a Project Impact Pathway Step #4 - List the inputs needed Example: • Funding, Local outreach workers, Website and database, Marketing materials Project Inputs Project Activities Project Beneficiaries Project Outputs Behavioral Changes Direct Outcomes Impact
  12. 12. This step responds to the question “Who will be directly effected by the project’s goods and/or services?” • Describe the main target group of the project as specifically as possible • Females, males, children, youth, seniors, refugee families, low-income, etc. • Individuals living in a specific neighborhood or geographical area • If possible, include an estimation of the number of beneficiaries expected to participate Building a Project Impact Pathway Step #5 - Describe the direct beneficiaries Example: • At least 100 employers from local communities in the first year, and 150 additional employers in each subsequent year Project Inputs Project Activities Project Beneficiaries Project Outputs Behavioral Changes Direct Outcomes Impact
  13. 13. What will the direct result of the project be for the beneficiaries or participants? • Often this can be described as a change in capacity, knowledge, attitudes, aspirations, skills or opportunities of participants • Focus only on the most direct impact that you expect the project will have • Should fill in the blank: IF the Project Beneficiaries participate in the Project Activity THEN we expect __________Project Outcome Building a Project Impact Pathway Step #6 - Define the main project outputs Example: • Local employers recognize the benefits of hiring youth in their businesses and for their community and access practical tools that facilitate hiring Project Inputs Project Activities Project Beneficiaries Project Outputs Behavioral Changes Direct Outcomes Impact HINT: Steps #6-8 usually require that we make some general assumptions for the intended result to happen - be sure to list these assumptions in the margin of your pathway
  14. 14. This step refers to a substantial ”on-the-ground” behavioral change by project participants that result from the project outcome • This is important for many projects with a long-term social benefit, but may not apply to all projects • Should fill in the blank: IF the Project Outcome is successful THEN __________ Behavioral Change will happen Building a Project Impact Pathway Step #7 - Define the desired behavioral change Example: • At the end of the first year an estimated 40-50 local employers create new job opportunities for youth on our system, growing to 100 employers in subsequent years Project Inputs Project Activities Project Beneficiaries Project Outputs Behavioral Changes Direct Outcomes Impact
  15. 15. This step defines the main improvements in the lives of the direct beneficiaries or participants of the project once they realize the change that the project caused • It should logically fill in the blank: IF the Project Beneficiaries realize the Behavioral Changes THEN _________ Direct Outcomes will happen Building a Project Impact Pathway Step #8 - Define the expected direct outcomes Example: • Local businesses generate 200-300 new work opportunities for youth in our community and local youth apply to over 90% of these positions Project Inputs Project Activities Project Beneficiaries Project Outputs Behavioral Changes Direct Outcomes Impact
  16. 16. The Project Impact Pathway Putting it all together the Project Impact Pathway should flow from one step to the next, that is why it is also commonly referred to as a Project Logic Model HINT: Test the Logic! Move from each step adding the word “if” before each step and “then” before the next step.Problem Project Inputs Project Activities Project Beneficiaries Project Outputs Behavioral Changes Direct Outcomes Impact If… then… If… then… If… then… If… then… If… then… If… then…
  17. 17. Example Problem: The unemployment rate among young people is over 20% in our region, resulting in many young men and women (16-24 year olds) leaving in search of opportunities in other jurisdictions Project Inputs: Funding Local outreach workers Website and database Marketing materials Project Activities: Through active outreach, our project promotes the benefits of hiring local youth and manages a website where young people connect with local employers to find work Project Beneficiaries: At least 100 employers from local communities in the first year, and 150 additional employers in each subsequent year Project Outputs: Local employers recognize the benefits of hiring youth in their businesses and for their community and access practical tools that facilitate hiring Behavioral Changes: At the end of the first year an estimated 40-50 local employers create new job opportunities for youth on our system, growing to 100 employers in subsequent years Direct Outcomes: Local businesses generate 200- 300 new work opportunities for youth in our community and local youth apply to over 90% of these positions Impact: Recent graduates and young people have increased opportunities to work, youth unemployment decreases and more remain in the region
  18. 18. Conclusion With a Project Impact Pathway defined it is now possible to complete the Planning Stage by adding appropriate measures that can be evaluated for each step of the model. This will allow project stakeholders to determine what is working and what can be improved in the project’s implementation. The next learning module will help determine what to measure, how to compare results and introduce some ways to collect the information.
  19. 19. Additional Resources Online help for building a Project Impact Pathway or Logic Model: Logic model development guide (Kellogg Foundation) • http://www.wkkf.org/resource-directory/resource/2006/02/wk-kellogg-foundation-logic-model-development-guide Developing a Logic Model: Teaching and training guide (University of Wisconsin) • http://fyi.uwex.edu/programdevelopment/logic-models/ Grassroots youth program toolkit (Youth Research and Evaluation eXchange, Ontario) • http://www.youthrex.com/toolkit/about-this-toolkit/ www.DevMetrica.com

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