The “data revolution” is changing the world. There is vast appetite for better understanding -- and improving -- ground-level realities across the globe. In the field of global development, there is growing demand for evidence-based policy and for rigorously measured, cost-effective solutions at scale. This demand has increased the need for high quality, dynamic data across wide geographic areas, and for innovative ways of measuring economic activity and development outcomes. Enter an exciting new partnership.
At Evidence Action, we do not typically measure final impacts when we implement a program at scale. By “impacts” we mean the metric of ultimate interest - the real reason we are doing what we are doing. We don’t measure whether households with Dispensers have less diarrhea or child mortality. We don’t measure whether children that get dewormed attend school more or have better cognitive scores. We measure whether people use chlorine and whether worm infection levels fall.
Measuring “means” rather than “ends” could be a controversial stance in an NGO community where M&E teams pride themselves in always measuring ‘impact.’
We think we are doing the right thing. Here’s why.
We use data every day. It’s critically important to our work. As an evidence-based organization, we rely on high-quality, timely and systematic measurement of inputs, outputs, and outcomes to make decisions about our work, and evaluate our progress. We measure to make decisions; we choose our methods depending on the question we want to answer.
So what data that we collect and use, and why?