I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.

Maya Angelou

Oscar’s family agreed to send $25,000 to the youth club building project, with the promise of $25,000 next year if Chidi can demonstrate that she is improving women and girls’ nutrition. This is a tricky one. How do we demonstrate an impact on women’s and girls’ nutrition through raising their incomes? I am sure that you spent time thinking about this in the previous section, and perhaps even googled ‘how to measure changes in income’. If you were doing this for yourself, you might have had a conversation with a doctor or nutritionist to see what tests are locally available, and at what cost. Depending on where in Africa you are, you might find it difficult or rude to ask questions about money. What you know for sure is that, at the moment, you have nothing in place to show the change in women and girls’ nutrition or income levels at the beginning of your project, and after being engaged for a period of time.  

This is also very typical of grants made to youth projects by trusts and foundations. They are given with clear conditions, and when you sign the contract or receive the money, you are given a specific timeline for delivering already agreed results. 

This $25,000 has been given to Chidi to specifically address malnutrition through awareness raising and raising the incomes of young women – these are the only results that matter. What can you do?

  1. Before accepting the money, Chidi should have made sure that her project would positively impact young women’s nutrition.  
  2. Chidi should have researched how she could measure this impact, the options, and how much they would cost.
  3. After speaking with Oscar, and accepting the money, Chidi should have agreed on a way of demonstrating this impact which was:  
    • Possible for her. 
    • Satisfactory for them (they want the impact measured, but they don’t want the majority spent on monitoring and evaluation). 
    • And set aside part of the budget for impact measuring as agreed with Oscar.

Direct and Indirect Measurement of Youth Club Impact

Direct measurement  

  • This would be looking for quantitative data that shows that women and girls’ nutrition has improved. It could include a health worker measuring weight, hair colour, and skin tone at the beginning and end of the project, for example. It’s important to know how you could directly measure the impact of your project because this is the best way of demonstrating the impact of your project. It is likely to be expensive, but if you want to scale up your project in future, demonstrating that it is effective is the best way to prove to future donors and funders that you have a model that works.

Indirect measurement   

  • Often we don’t have the money or the time to demonstrate our girl’s clubs’ impact. Addressing poverty or helping a girl to get a good career can’t be measured in 6 months. Arranging and analysing a health worker to take these measurements might be very expensive in Chidi’s neighbourhood – too expensive to justify. Measuring income is very difficult if you can’t guarantee that people will give you an honest answer, or be comfortable giving you an answer.
  • When this happens we have to look for proxies or indirect measurements, which we will look at later. 

Examples of simple ways of demonstrating this, that don’t require fancy or expensive tests, could be:  

  • Measuring changes in weight, hair colour or skin tone would indicate better nutrition.
  • Ask women or girls at the start of the project to note what they eat for each meal. 
  • Interview them at the end of the project, asking them to explain what they have learnt, how their diet has changed, and why. 
  • Asking a local doctor for testimony on the girls’ health and wellbeing.

Now you just have to write this up clearly for your funder! Use the template they give you if they have one, or otherwise keep your report concise, precise and logical!

Reflection Questions

  1. Do you have any projects that promise results that are hard to measure?
  2. How could you (or do you) directly measure the changes you have said you will deliver?
  3. How could you (or do you) indirectly measure the changes you have said you will deliver?
  4. How can you improve this?

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