The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

I wanted to give an update on our program metrics in this blog post as it has been a hot issue on our team lately. I had a call with one of our biggest donors this week about this topic, David is hard at work in the field on all sorts of Program Metric-related activities, and Jamie is spending as much time as she can on the issue when she is not consumed by her work on developing Nuru’s approach to Needs Assessments. (I just go ahead and capitalize these things….they are important).

As a reminder, Program Metrics are the means by which we hope to assess the effectiveness of our specific interventions. We spent a great deal of 2011 putting each of our programs into Logic Models so that we could, with logic, assess the entire list of activities that each program is engaged in, what we expect to be outputs to measure whether the activities are occurring, and then ultimately what we expect the outcomes of the activities to be. The outcomes are changes in behaviors or conditions that indicate the success of a program.

An example: in CED, savings clubs exist. We expect the participants in our savings clubs to attend the savings club meetings. So an activity would be the holding of a training session, the output of that activity would be a certain number of attendees at the session. An outcome of the session, we would hope, would be a high and increasing percentage of savings club members savings club members saving so regularly that they qualify for a Nuru loan, ultimately. The measure of this outcome is one of our program metrics. We believe that assessing this will help us determine whether having these trainings in the first place is making an impact on our community.

We talk a lot about making an impact, and anecdotally/qualitatively, it is clear that we are having an impact. Having a conversation with a Nuru farmer will tell anyone that. The analysis of our impact with numbers, though, is still not ready for wide dissemination. That’s one of the bad/ugly things from the title of this blog post.

The good news, though, is that while the numbers are not ready to share, they do actually exist for, I am so happy to say, ALL the programs other than leadership. (Leadership is still very much in its infancy, though, so it would make no sense for us to have any numbers to share. The program is still iterating on differing models.)

We gathered baseline data for Watsan and Healthcare with the big survey we conducted at the end of last year. We have already begun analyzing that data, and it will be ready to share in approximately one month. We will have baseline scores, therefore, for these two important programs and all of their metrics.

We have begun to and are still in the process of gathering baseline data for our Education program. We can analyze it within the next few weeks. We are using a tool called Uwezo to assess child literacy. David and Rogonga have just returned from a meeting with the Kenyan country director for Uwezo in Nairobi, and it was very fruitful. We are so pleased to have access to such a great tool.

For CED and Agriculture, we have been gathering data for a long time and it exists in two large excel models. We have a crack team of IT professionals working on turning those models into a tool that everyone at Nuru can use – an online database. We tried this once before and it didn’t work, really, so I am nervous, but these folks really know what they are doing.

So, again, the good news is we have numbers. The not-so-good, we can’t tell you what they are yet.

Soon, my friends, soon.

About Gabrielle Blocher

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