Assessing the Situation

Nicola Musa

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.


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.

Dalia Association

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.

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