Chidi was a little lost. She knew she needed to measure things to prove the cookery club’s impact. But what could she measure? She had read a lot about data. It seemed to be a big fashion. But what statistics could she collect? And what would she need them for? She went to sleep worried.

When she woke in the morning she realised that she was obsessing over measuring all the youth work she was doing with young women and needed to go back to her ‘why’. She ran the youth club to help teenage girls. Many of them were responsible for cooking for their families on a tight budget. She saw that her girls’ club aimed to help them to have better futures by:

– Being better nourished so girls could pay more attention in class and get better grades. 

– Through cookery girls learnt good budgeting skills, which would be useful for the rest of their lives. 

– Young women learnt to cook snacks that they could sell themselves or give to a kiosk-owner to sell for them, making some money. 

– Young women increased their soft skills through the activities in the youth club which would be useful for their futures, from communication to adaptability.

So Chidi thought about how she could measure this. 

She didn’t have the resources to prove the girls were better nourished. She didn’t want to set the girls ‘tests’ on budgeting. She wasn’t sure the girls would want to talk about how much money they had made, and she knew some had chosen not to do this for a number of reasons. But she could ask them about their experiences. She thought about who else could give an unbiased account of the youth club’s impact. She thought of the girls’ parents, siblings and guardians and teachers. It might be a little challenging, but she could ask them for feedback. 

And she realised that she already had some data. She just wasn’t thinking about it like that. She had asked the girls to share their ideas for the next school term and what they learned at the youth club during the month. It wasn’t rigorous, but they had shared some ideas she would never have thought of herself. And she already had numbers as she kept a register for each session and could see that the consistency of attendance was improving. It was a start.

In Toolkit 1 we reflected on the aims and objectives of Chidi’s girls’ empowerment project, and you had the chance to determine the aims and objectives for your youth organisations. If you aren’t clear about the issues you are trying to address and how your youth project is addressing them, it is impossible to measure whether you are addressing them effectively. Now is the time to refresh yourself!

Reflection Questions

  1. Are you clear about the goals of your project? [If not go to Output 1 here]
  2. What data are you already collecting?
  3. Who could you ask for an unbiased view of the impact your project is making?

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