Measuring our impact
Together with our partner organisations in the program countries we seek to make tangible impacts on the lives and environments of children and youth. Our partners systematically monitor and evaluate the progress of projects. Partners discuss their learnings with us on a regular basis and develop good practices to be applied in future interventions.
Right from the outset, evaluation and monitoring are an integral part of project planning and design. In the planning stage it is of particular importance that target group representatives, especially older children and youth, are consulted in defining the project goals and desired impacts and that a child rights analysis is conducted to inform project planning. Project impact is measured and analysed regularly using defined indicators. A log frame - that is a project design matrix with clearly defined goals, objectives, outputs and inputs - is developed as an essential part of every project proposal.
Projects are jointly monitored by Kindernothilfe and our partner organisations in the program countries. Based on the log frame, our partners develop a monitoring plan to systematically track project implementation and progress towards the project objectives. They analyse the results, discuss them with representatives of the target population and inform Kindernothilfe accordingly. However, to KNH it is equally important that the target groups themselves are adequately involved in this process so that they can define the changes they want to see and monitor the project performance from their side.
Regular project reports prepared by the partners describe the project progress made all along the log frame. In addition, KNH staff conducts regular project visits and discusses the findings with the partners.
With regard to project evaluations, Kindernothilfe’s priority is to capture lessons learned and to make the necessary adjustments to log frames and interventions. Furthermore, we commission strategic evaluations to gain deeper insights into key program designs, such as our self-help group approach. KNH developed an Evaluation Concept that provides the framework for all evaluations and contains both the OECD DAC evaluation criteria and the standards of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Evaluation (DeGEval). To ensure objectivity and credibility, all evaluations are conducted by external auditors. As a rule, they include an assessment of achieved impact.
The attribution of causality in evaluations, which means distinguishing the impact made by the project from the effects of project-external factors, requires not only looking at the project from various angles, but also applying methodologically sound evaluation designs and methods.
We are constantly refining and optimizing our evaluation approach and share experiences and good practices with national and international evaluation networks. Kindernothilfe is a member of the DeGEval (German Evaluation Association) and of the DeGEval work group on assessing efficiency in project evaluations. This allows us to regularly exchange with researchers and practitioners on evaluation tools and methods and to contribute to their further improvement.
We are also participants in a VENRO (umbrella organisation of development NGOs in Germany) working group on impact monitoring which provides a platform for regular information exchange and for adopting common positions on evaluation policies and guidelines. As a member of the initiative NGO-IDEAs, we work with other organisations on developing and refining participatory approaches that equip target groups with tools and methods to better define, monitor and evaluate from their side the outcomes that they want to achieve
Partner Capacity Building
Impact orientation which means monitoring and measuring the impacts achieved by our projects is a central issue for Kindernothilfe and its partner organisations. In this process we focus on the changes in the lives of the target groups that we and our partners aim to achieve. Successful project work requires an adequate impact monitoring. Planning and monitoring impacts, however, is a challenge. Which strategy is to be chosen to achieve the intended impacts? How can we determine that impacts are being achieved and if we determine impacts, how can we be sure that they have occurred as a result of the project intervention and are not due to external factors? There are no general answers to these questions as they highly depend on the type of intervention and are very context-specific. To help the staff of Kindernothilfe and our partners find answers to impact-related questions, we support them with capacity building. Existing capacities and competencies are assessed and based on the results, targeted training concepts are developed and implemented.