Impact assessments

The Millennium Development Goals have opened up a two way street between donors and beneficiaries and have created a need to look at program effectiveness from a new perspective – the perspective of beneficiaries. Terrorism, Pandemic Prevention, Human Trafficking, and Climate Change are no longer problems that only impact on some distant developing country, they are trans-boundary issues that affect all of us. As a result of this, donors are becoming increasingly concerned about the performance of social development programmes and there is increasing pressure to see clear evidence of sustainable progress towards objectives.

Measuring program effectiveness and where necessary resulting behavioral change in a social context is a big challenge, one that a major Aid organization commented upon by saying:

“Behavioral change is probably the single most difficult objective communicators are asked to undertake. How beneficiaries regard the campaign (programme) and what they think is beneficial or even needed is often overlooked. So the question is, how can we use the beneficiary’s perceptions of a campaign (program) in order for it to be more effective? In other words, start a dialogue – make the beneficiary an active participant in the process.”

Rapid Asia has developed a model for evaluating the impact of social development programmes. The framework has been used across Asia to evaluate disaster relief efforts, program performance for avian Influenza, and to monitor impact of behavioral change communication in relation to human and animal trafficking. The impact evaluation framework can be applied to:

  • Communication initiatives
  • Capacity development projects
  • Policy development programmes

A core feature of all impact evaluations that Rapid Asia undertakes, is to develop key indicators that can be used for performance monitoring and benchmarking across:

  • Different countries and regions
  • Beneficiary and stakeholder segments
  • Time