VBNK routinely conducts end-of-programme evaluations for all client services (e.g. pre- and post training evaluations and evaluations on completion of organisational development interventions). These typically monitor activities and outputs and levels of satisfaction with the services provided.
VBNK also conducts an annual Impact Assessment study in September-October each year. The overarching purpose of the annual impact assessment is to help VBNK practically understand more about our efforts to provide relevant and useful developmental practice and management services for social development organisations and to help us improve our work in the future. The annual impact study allows us to focus attention on outcome measures (application of learning and improved organisational and community practice) and to generate longitudinal data to address questions, such as: Has the learning from the training room been applied into the workplace? Has the organisation been able to sustain changes over time?
Instead of looking for outputs, which respondents are mostly comfortable speaking about and can recall easily, we push ourselves to uncover outcomes. In this way the impact assessment allows us to confirm the end-of-programme evaluations and to identify specific examples of the application of learning into the work environment, communities, families and homes. We also explore factors that help and hinder participants to learn and to apply their learning.
We have been able to document reports of improved relations and increased cooperation between community members and development practitioners. Facilitators are able to describe an increase in confidence to apply process facilitation into their work. They can also describe improved skills in identifying and solving problems without external assistance. Some respondents also provide examples of positive changes within their organisations, for example, more effective teamwork, fewer internal conflicts and improved communications and information flow.
Results have been consistent over the years that VBNK activities do result in positive change and lead to improved service provision in the social development sector.