Helping Markets and States Work for Development


De-mystifying Impact Assessment
Author(s):Joanne Sprague
Membership:Impact assessment methodology

This note aims to provide a basic summary of the field of impact assessment (IA) in development, and to de-mystify this seemingly complex topic to some extent. We start by defining what we believe impact is - the difference between what actually happened as a result of an organization’s program implementation and what would have happened if the programs had not been implemented at all. Next, we explore how to assess impact. Historically, the challenges of isolating the impact of a program have led organizations to assess themselves on measures that fall short of impact, such as outreach quantity or fund utilization. More recently, the development sector is moving towards assessing actual changes in the lives of clients, which is a much more accurate but far more difficult task. Moreover, there seems to be no consensus on terminology for this field of study – the following terms are often used interchangeably: impact assessment, impact evaluation, impact management, performance management, results measurement, monitoring and evaluation, and so on. We believe that no matter what the preferred jargon, a holistic approach to the topic of impact assessment would lend clarity of purpose to the task.

Advocacy-Oriented Strategy: Background Thoughts for ICICI Foundation
Author(s):Joanne Sprague
Membership:Advocacy-oriented strategy

There has been an interest in incorporating advocacy into ICICI Foundation strategy.  Almost all the five partner organizations work with the government in some fashion.  How much of these government interactions are translated into advocacy – reforming the system in which we are working, to make our programs more effective?  The development sector complains constantly about policy roadblocks – outdated legislation, poorly thought out regulation, endemic corruption, politicians pandering to popular trends rather than sustainable solutions.  While we do our best within these conditions, we can work simultaneously to fix these systemic problems at their root cause.  The question we need to answer is how we best fit into this network of change: how can we collectively leverage the Foundation’s strengths for optimal impact in programs AND advocacy?

This background note is intended to give a high-level overview of the basics of advocacy, why it is important, and how best-in-class organizations approach the topic.  Its secondary objective is to showcase various options for structuring an advocacy-oriented organization backed up by programming, to initiate a discussion on what model would best suit the Foundation to most effectively accomplish both its project and advocacy goals.

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