A big hello to all of you out there in the field,
This blog, the third in a series about M&E 2.0, is dedicated to you. Because our main question practically is: ‘How can we make your life easier ?’. After creating clarity about what M&E 2.0 is and setting the rules for this playing field we are finally at the point where we can dive into the development of the hard- and the software. Therefore we start this phase of development by answering the first question remaining after our previous blog: ‘Which tools (mobile, video, photo) can be used best for data collection (within M&E 2.0) and how?’.
First of all it is good to be clear about the fact that, after the co-creation session, we decided to put the Most Significant Change (MSC) technique at the heart of our pilot. For this technique we owe many thanks to Rick Davies and Jess Dart for their groundbreaking work developing MSC. Their pioneering is vividly described in The ‘Most Significant Change’ Technique; A Guide to Its Use (pdf) (2005).
MSC is an established form of participatory monitoring and evaluation. The method is participatory because many project stakeholders are involved in recording and analyzing the data. MSC can be implemented throughout the project or program cycle and collects stories of change from the field based upon one core question: ‘What, in your eyes, has been the biggest change in your life through this project?’. What follows is a systematic selection of the most significant of these stories by panels of stakeholders, feeding back the results to the field. In this way it the method more than an impact assessment tool, it is moreover about developing a continuous dialogue with all possible stakeholders about what works and what can be improved.
One of the golden values within MSC is Simplicity. Simplicity is the key to succesfull implementation: ‘Don’t talk, just KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)!’. Keeping that in mind, we’ve come up with a set of four simple tools to be tested in pilot. So what tools did we come up with?
First of all, with the support of our friends from AKVO we’ve created an MSC Smartphone App that allows organizations to interview stakeholders according to MSC standards. The App is a simple and intuitive piece of software that helps interviewers to collect and process stories in an efficient way. The collected data includes a picture and a geotag of the location of interview. This geotag enables the presentation of data in a Google Maps-like environment.
Secondly, combining MSC with Participatory Video we’ll equip fieldworkers with flipcams to record most significant change stories on camera. A simple tool that allows organizations to visualize their impact.
Our third way of capturing stories will be through texting, with the support of Text to Change. Using posters, flyers and mouth-to-mouth advertisement residents in a project area will be inspired to TEXT their most significant stories of change in a series of messages. Texting provides a creative opportunity to collect a wide variety of short stories in a more anonymous way. A micro-incentives stimulates participants to join: one out of every five participants wins 100 KES (€1,-) airtime!
Blogging, the fourth tool and last tool we’ll experiment with, is already becoming a more commonly used instrument. A selected group of stakeholders (for example a staff member, the director, a beneficiary, a board member and an outsider who knows the project) are invited to regularly write a blog in MSC style about the project at stake.
At the end of each pilot-day a panel within each participating organization will make a selection out of the stories collected through this set of tools. The panel will feed back their results to the community immediately for verification and further exploration. We’ll support the panels in organizing this in a creative way that fits their own context.
Ok, enough of the talking: Let’s go and do this! This June 25th to June 28th fifteen very exited representatives of six 1%Partners in Nairobi throw themselves in to test the methods & tools described above. We look forward to sharing their results and experiences with you in our next blog.
On our way now, keep you posted!
EyeOpener Works and 1%CLUB.