Learning from campaigns

Understanding how monitoring our progress and evaluating impact makes stronger campaigners ‘Monitoring and evaluation’ gets a bad rap and is often seen as the boring, end-of-project formality that has to done. But it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have to be that way. Forget the technical words and think about what this process really means. This is about learning from what you are doing and making the changes needed to be more successful in campaigning. Monitoring how well you’re doing Monitoring or reviewing your work is an on-going process while your campaign is still happening. It gives you the chance to reflect on what you are doing and how you’re doing it, be sure you’re on track to meet your campaign goals and make any necessary changes. This is a continual process and needs honesty to be useful and bravery to be bold in dealing with problems when things aren’t going to plan. Evaluating your impact Evaluation comes at the end the project and should focus on what has changed as a result of your campaign. This can be in terms of policy or political change, impact on individuals involved and the organisation as well as the wider public. It also thinks about how you have run the campaign, what you did well and where you could have done things differently. Here is a diagram from the Advocacy Toolkit created by Peace Child International that will help make the differences between monitoring and evaluation clearer.

Figure 1: ‘Monitoring & Evaluation' activity, Advocacy Training Toolkit, Peace Child International 2012

Practical Action, The Schumacher Centre for Technology and Development, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ, UK T +44 (0)1926 634400 | F +44 (0)1926 634401 | E campaigns@practicalaction.org.uk | W www.practicalaction.org ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Practical Action is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. Company Reg. No. 871954, England | Reg. Charity No.247257 | VAT No. 880 9924 76 | Patron HRH The Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB

Why bother? Celebrating impact – Campaigns can have a huge impact on the individuals involved (such as new skills, knowledge, friendships, networks) and the organisation as a whole. This needs to be recognised and celebrated! Knowing what changed – Campaigners often give little time to pause and reflect. Knowing what has changed means you can see where your campaigning strengthens lie and where you are making a difference. This is often is places you hadn’t expected! Taking action to be effective – Even if you have strong, well thought through plans, circumstances change and often campaigns need to change course or review their strategy. This is a healthy process and stops you marching down the wrong street just because it’s the one you agreed to before. Learning from mistakes – Even if you achieved your goals, campaigns always make mistakes and understanding what went wrong is crucial to preventing you – and others – from making similar mistakes again. An honest approach to campaigning – If we’re spending money, asking volunteers to give up their time and mobilising supporters, you have a responsibility to be open and honest with what you’re doing and how you’re doing it and sharing your learning with the wider movement. What to think about There will be many things that need to be considered and some will be specific to your campaign, style of working, organisational structure and campaign aim. While the questions may change (be as creative as you like!), these four areas should be thought about in both monitoring and evaluation: What changed? What impact has your campaign had? What has changed as a result? Did you achieve your aims & objectives? If not, why not? If yes, what is your proof? Impact on individuals & organisations What skills have you learnt and developed? How have you changed? What do you want to develop further? What have you gained from the campaign? How has the organisation benefited? Team How well did the team work together? Did everyone have the right skills & knowledge to run the campaign? Did you have enough capacity to achieve you goals? Was it clear and positive how the group worked, made decisions and the culture it created? Was this the right way of working? Was the leadership supportive and enabling?

Planning & strategy Did you share a unified vision for what you were trying to change? Did you have a clear plan for achieving your goals? If so, did it work? If not, why not? Was it clear who was responsible for different aspects of the campaign? Did you have all the needed resources? Did you stay in budget & was it value for money?

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Be clear from the start what you are going to evaluate, why that is important to you, what questions you need answers for to best understand what happened and how you are going to get them. Doing it in a fun way What stops people doing such an important and needed process is the idea that it had to be about filling in forms and writing reports which takes away from the needed campaign work. But remember, your future campaigns will be better because you invest the time now. It also doesn’t have to be boring! How about using: Blogs Pictures Video Interviews Art Online surveys Interviews with people Write an article or diary entry Storify Twitter/Facebook/Youtube Statistics Newspaper articles Most of all, make it fun for the team and include them in agreeing how the evaluation or monitoring will work. This can be one of the most exciting times – looking back at what you have achieved and the change you have made. It’s a chance to help future campaigns (including your own) be more effective. This brief was authored by Alex Farrow on behalf of Practical Action. This brief forms part of a climate change and development advocate training programme developed and delivered by Practical Action in 2012. The training is funded as part of an awareness project by the EC. Practical Action The Schumacher Centre for Technology and Development Bourton-on-Dunsmore Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)1926 634400 Fax: +44 (0)1926 634401 E-mail: campaigns@practicalaction.org.uk Website: http://www.practicalaction.org/
Practical Action is a development charity with a difference. We know the simplest ideas can have the most profound, life-changing effect on poor people across the world. For over 40 years, we have been working closely with some of the world’s poorest people - using simple technology to fight poverty and transform their lives for the better. We currently work in 15 countries in Africa, South Asia and Latin America.

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