This page presents some leading examples of feedback systems that NGOs are using to measure their performance. It is not comprehensive.
Developed by CARE Malawi and now promoted by the World Bank, communities and local providers both separately identify and rate key aspects of local service provision (e.g. of primary health care). At an ‘interface meeting’ the two groups discuss the findings and plan improvements.
NGOs like CARE and ACDI/VOCA are using versions of the scorecard to monitor their own and partners’ work.
In 2004, a randomised trial in Uganda found that, after a year, communities that used a scorecard gained many health benefits including a 33% reduction in child mortality. (Bjorkman & Svensson)
Keystone Partner Survey
In 2010, Keystone brought together 25 European and US NGOs who support southern partners. Using a common questionnaire, the partners were invited to rate different aspects of the support they received. The survey generated quantitative data on questions like “how useful is the northern NGO’s training?”, “do they provide funds on time?”, “how approachable are they?”
The survey generated credible performance data on how well the 25 northern NGOs were doing their job and how they compared to each other, through benchmarking.
I really appreciated the survey. All questions are clear and relevant and will surely contribute to improve our relationships with [the NGO] in future.” Survey respondent, 2010
See also the ethical framework developed by Keystone to guide feedback exercises in development work.
A social movement in Bangladesh developed a framework of indicators that describe exactly what ’empowerment’ means for local community groups, in their terms. Groups use it to assess their performance every year. They are reported as finding the assessment process useful and inspiring.
Quantified summaries are reported to managers and donors, disaggregated by gender and providing a new basis for assessing staff performance.
… a methodological breakthrough … [that] shows participatory assessments can empower and transform relationships, and at the same time generate reliable and valid statistics …” Robert Chambers, 2010
Coping Strategies Index
Developed by WFP and CARE, and now used internationally, this index measures household food security by asking people “what do you do when you don’t have adequate food, and don’t have enough money to buy food?”
First, local coping strategies are identified. Then households are surveyed to ask how many times they have used each strategy in the last week. A single score is generated, which can be monitored over time and compared between sites. The findings correlate well with more complex indicators, like income or food production.
Concern and Mango developed ‘Listen First’ to monitor how well NGOs collaborate with local people. It is based on a 4 x 4 framework, setting out flexible performance standards in four areas: providing information, involving people in making decisions, listening and staff attitudes.
The approach generates feedback from local people and field staff using the framework, aiming to generate dialogue for improvement. It provides a way of measuring the level of participation actually achieved.
The Outcomes Star is a tool for measuring outcomes of work with homeless people in the UK. It is based on ten ‘outcome areas’ such as: physical health, self care and managing money. Homeless people mark their position on a scale of 1 – 10 for each area, in dialogue with care workers.
The approach has been widely adopted in the UK, with over 90 organisations signing up to use it.
The Star is one of the few tools that are useful for both clients and staff and helps us demonstrate what we’re doing – it ticks a lot of boxes.” Norwich City Assertive Outreach team, undated
New initiatives are using SMS text, mobile phone and web technology to collect and present feedback in new ways. They include:
- www.frontlinesms.com – large scale two way text messaging
- www.ushahidi.com – crowd sourcing citizen reporting
- www.emoksha.com – increasing citizen awareness and engagement
- www.sensemaker-suite.com – analysing stories from the bottom up
- Who Counts? The Quiet Revolution of Participation and Numbers, Robert Chambers, 2007
- Creating the Missing Feedback Loop, Alex Jacobs, 2010
- Feedback: Good Practice Principles, ALINe, 2010