C16 Measuring progress

Evaluations

Consider what the signs of progress will be for various different activities planned. How can you measure whether there has been any progress?

If you think health, agriculture or income may have improved a bit as a result of your planned activities, this will not tell you very much! If, for example, your activities have included introducing rabbit husbandry, you could plan to measure:

  • the number of farmers deciding to look after rabbits 
  • the number of rabbits sold for meat
  • the number of rabbits eaten by family members
  • the number of cases of childhood malnutrition recorded in the local clinic
  • the frequency of disease in rabbits
  • the income from selling the furs.

Over two years, this would provide a good record of the effect of your activities on farmers, nutrition and income, and indicate ways of improving future activities.

Discussion  

  • If you start activities and only consider measuring their effectiveness after two years, it may prove very difficult to discover what has been achieved. You need to think about how you will measure progress before starting work. Then you will be able to keep useful records that may show clearly the results of activities.
  • Consider again the example of the community improving health. What ways could they use for measuring improvements in health? If participants are slow to suggest measurements, here are some ideas:
    • The increase in children receiving vaccinations
    • The number of cases of childhood diarrhoea
    • The number of child deaths in the first two years of life.
  • Can you think of other activities and then suggest ways of measuring their effectiveness.
  • Expect all these planning activities to take a long time. However, you will find they will prove very worthwhile. This kind of planning process is especially important if you hope to find funding for your work.
  • Use all the different stages (aims, objectives, activities, assumptions and risks and ways of measuring progress) when writing funding applications!