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Developing an impact-oriented practice

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To Many NGOs and CSOs, development is a process that leads humankind towards “a world in which poverty and inequality have been ended; in which decisions are based on social justice, gender equality and upon our responsibility to future generations; where every person has the right to live in dignity, on an equal basis, free from poverty and sustainably”.

Therefore, development aid must contribute to people’s development and social transformation of societies and communities. Development actors need to define clearly the type of development and the type of positive changes they aim at contributing to through their interventions. Development impact is achieved by the combined effect of multiple interventions by multiple stakeholders engaged in the development process.

Managing for impact is only possible if you have reliable information about the progress of activities and their outcomes, the reasons for success and failure, and the context in which activities are taking place. This information is the output of your M&E procedures. Analysing this information with key stakeholders can support good decisions that improve the project. For a project to be a success, it needs to have an impact or a result. We devise plans to make sure we arrive at the right result. In many change projects, however, people tend to focus too much on following the plan, forgetting that plans are only the means to the end. The impact is what really matters.

Misereor has contracted VBNK as a professional training organization to support selected partners of Misereor to enhance the capacity of their staff to be able to work in a more change oriented way over the next three years (2014-2016). In order to achieve this goal, VBNK is to provide trainings and coaching services that are tailor made to the needs of the respective partner organization.

  1. Misereor partners in Cambodia are progressively more impact focused in the planning, implementation, evaluation and monitoring of their work and interventions with communities.
  2. Interventions and methodologies that have proven successful in supporting partners are documented, such that they can be replicated.
  3. Misereor partners in Cambodia sustain their increased focus on impacts over of period of three years, drawing on opportunities for peer support, where appropriate.

The activities include:

  • The development of an approach to impact oriented monitoring and reporting requires that the staff concerned know the reason for what they are doing and are clear about what they want. This learning refers to matters such as, the design of a data collection tools, keeping consistently records and writing summary reports.
  • The introduction of any new tool requires that staff have confidence that the tool fits her/his need. Thus, after identifying a tool or designing the tool, staff need to “test out the tool” and be guided on reflecting on the use of the tool. This step will help staff gain ownership of the tool. The result will be to continue or to make adjustment(s).
  • Outcome and impact orientation poses difficulty for developing a broader understanding, e.g. the logic of a results chain, and increasing skills, e.g. journal writing and monitoring reports. A series of coaching sessions allows staff to acknowledge what they understand and influences their willingness to learn and gradually strengthen confidence. The time devoted to reflection helps affirm the positive and gives encouragement to overcome challenges.

 

 

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