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Impact – some useful words

Definitions of words used to measure impact

2002 Available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese

Footsteps magazine issues on a wooden desk.

From: Increasing our impact – Footsteps 50

How to understand the impact we are having and adjust our work accordingly

The following definitions each have an example from a well building programme

Activities What is actually done

  • Building of wells
  • Hygiene education

Evaluation An assessment, at a specific time, of the effects of a programme

  • Assessing whether water use in the village has changed and whether the wells have influenced household hygiene and sanitation

Goals Long-term aims for impact

  • To improve health in target population

Impact Long-term and sustainable change resulting from an activity

  • Long-term effects on the health of local people, social relationships in the village and the position of women

Indicators Evidence or signs that change has taken place

Quantitative indicators are those which can be measured or counted

  • Number of people collecting water from the wells

Qualitative indicators are those gained by observation and perception

  • Local people’s views about the changes caused by the wells

Inputs Physical and human resources used within the programme

  • Tools, bricks, labour

Monitoring Continuous process of observation to record, reflect and use information regarding progress

  • Use of resources, progress of activities, changes towards meeting programme objectives

Objectives Results and outcomes the programme is expected to achieve

  • To increase the amount of clean water used in village households

Outcomes The effect on the original situation due to the programme

  • Increased use of clean water in households

Outputs What is produced as a result of completed activities

  • Completed wells producing clean water

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