Nicola Musa is an expert in monitoring and evaluation, meaning specific techniques that many organizations use to figure out if their projects are working. In this video, he explains how governments and organizations gather knowledge in order to choose how to act.
If you have a country that has a 2 million budget for a certain region, for Beirut for example, 10 million for a certain area in Beirut. There are priorities, they have 10 million and they have projects for 50 million, how can they know what are the most important projects that people could benefit from? This is all based on data, based on the surveys, based on the evidence. If there’s no evidence, no data we will stay lost. Everyone will be lost. And it will stay depending on each person’s agendas and their group and that and that. These thing stay. But there should be focus on goals in general. People’s will, what are the developmental priorities for the local communities? And not what are the developmental priorities for the government? And not developmental priorities for the people…people need to know how to determine their interests, determine their needs, and based on these needs to be able to demand and search for how they work with the government, work with people, work with donating organizations on the basis of achieving these needs.
When you are beginning working in a community, starting a new project or mobilization, you need to gather a lot of knowledge about the issues at hand. In particular, you need to learn if a problem is shared, and who is affected by it. The knowledge you gather in this phase may be called “assessment,” or it may be called “scoping.” “Assessment” means that you are understanding what the situation is before you start your project. “Scoping” means you are determining the size and importance of the issue. It may also be called “gathering baseline data.” Baseline data means knowing how things are at the beginning, before you’ve tried to make a change.
Large NGOs and the private and government donors who fund their projects often require a very formal type of collection of this information, which must be reported back at the end of the project. But for people who are working not a specific, limited project, for which they have to account to a donor, this sort of information may be less useful. In fact, if what you’re most interested in is social change, then you may need an entirely different sort of knowledge throughout the process. In this video, Aisha Mansour, the director of Dalia Association in Palestine, talks about the difference between her background in health management and the social transformation work that Dalia does.
Of course in our work, it’s also important for us to measure our impact, so we want to create an active community that utilizes its own resources, but how do we measure this work? This is something very hard for us, and daily, monthly and annually we inspect how, my background is in health management and management in general so I am used to measuring, and having a system for evaluation and indicators that I measure from month to month and okay good, and in Dalia we are doing these things, we have a yearly plan and we put indicators so that we can measure our work both in terms of administration and outside impact. But, how do we measure impact outside? Changing a nation takes a long time, it’s a long term impact though, small grants maybe there’s a small impact but not much, but we stay in touch for a long time. But how can we know what the impact is and what are indicators we can use to know if we are on the right path? Until now we don’t know a way , we don’t know the answer till now, we have a committee to measure the impact but even that is something we are experimenting with right now, there’s no answer, we asked the experts and no one has the solution, what’s the impact? Did we change the thinking? did the society start to be active and solve their own problems even without Dalia organization? How do we measure this? so I didn’t really give you an answer, I said we don’t know.