In seeking to understand what they may have achieved in terms of ‘change’ NGOs and other development agencies need to move beyond simply measuring output in quantitative terms: they need to move beyond the numbers game. Random surveys of project evaluations in a range of countries and sectors illustrate the extent of the problem: input and output, expressed quantitatively, are the only two consistent elements in most project monitoring and evaluation systems. Scant attention is paid to monitoring the changes over a longer period of time in order to assess whether they have had any sustainable impact on the original problem or situation.
INTRAC completed research on the relationship between NGOs and decentralised government in Africa. Given the trend towards decentralisation of central government authority in Africa since the late 1980s it is vital that NGOs develop appropriate strategies for working with decentralised government in supporting greater democracy in local governance.
In this issue we also outline the key themes discussed at the Capacity Building Panel of the NGOs in a Global Future conference. Anne Garbutt shares with us her experience of institutional development in Central Asia, and details are given of training courses and a new publication that may be of interest to readers.
ONTRAC 12. Evaluating impact: the search for appropriate methods and instruments