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close this bookParticipatory Impact Monitoring - PIM Booklet 2: NGO-Based Impact Monitoring (GTZ, 1996, 38 p.)
close this folder2. NGO-based impact monitoring
View the document2.1 Advantages and obstacles
View the document2.2 Steps in introducing and carrying out NGO-based monitoring of socio-cultural impacts
View the document2.3 Joint reflection workshops
View the document2.4 Facilitating the PIM process

2.1 Advantages and obstacles

At the beginning of this booklet, we listed some conditions which should be fulfilled for PIM to be applied successfully. We then described the basic ideas underlying PIM. As we have seen above, there are advantages in theory, but perhaps obstacles in practice.

PIM holds out the promise of being useful - but certain conditions must be fulfilled:

PIM is an appropriate tool for managing a self-help project but do you really want to try a new monitoring concept? PIM may take more time but do your staff members want to spend more time on joint decisions?

PIM is intended to empower people who have no voice but will the people in power at the moment accept a loss of influence?

PIM makes the project and the organization more transparent - but is this transparency really desired?

PIM may cause some conflicts if there are divergencies between attitudes, expectations and objectives. Are you ready to confront them?

Is your organization strong enough to tackle this new task? Are the leaders and members willing to face the hurdles mentioned above? If so, it is very likely that you will be rewarded with fruitful improvements of your activities!

There are several other good reasons why an NGO should adopt PIM:

- In an NGO there is a lot of knowledge concerning socio-cultural impact lying fallow. The staff have a large body of experience with learning processes in similar groups or projects. Field workers continuously observe the changes in their clients' environment. In order to improve project management, NGO-based impact monitoring could mobilize and systematize this knowledge.

- In some organizations, the results of the field staff's and social workers' endeavours are not perceived or appreciated, especially when they are "invisible" rather than technical or economic. NGO-based impact monitoring could contribute to personnel guidance and team development by demonstrating the value of field work.

- Non-profit organizations do not have economic, but intangible objectives. Their performance is measured not by economic indicators (like profit or turnover) but primarily by social, cultural or other qualitative criteria. NGO-based impact monitoring can also be important in managing the development of an entire organization.

If there are conflicts, open or hidden, PIM helps to bring them to the surface. Misunderstandings can then be resolved if the actors are ready for open dialogue.

While NGO-based PIM is equivalent to group-based PIM, it is not merely a copy of it with different actors. The purpose of NGO-based PIM is to accompany group-based PIM and, to some extent, to complement it.

NGO-based impact monitoring consists of three elements:

A. Monitoring of socio-cultural impacts is similar to group-based PIM (see booklet 1). The differences are:

- the field workers are the main actors, they select and specify indicators, observe, document and analyze the changes, and make (or prepare) decisions;

- monitoring focusses even more on socio-cultural impacts, i.e. learning processes, capacity building, changes in behaviour.

B. Joint Reflection Workshops are regular joint meetings of the NGO and the group. Results of group-based impact monitoring are compared with NGO-based monitoring of socio-cultural impacts.

C. Facilitation of the PIM process and ongoing accompaniment of the group by the development organization or NGO are necessary for the introduction and functioning of PIM.

Introducing PIM to NGO field staff

Before introducing PIM in a self-help group, it is crucial that an in-depth introduction to the PIM concept be given to the NGO staff involved, as they will be part and parcel of the implementation. This introduction to PIM, however, should be initiated carefully, starting with the field workers' practical experience.

Therefore, the introduction to PIM should not start with a theoretical explanation of monitoring or impact. The field staff should be encouraged to bring in their own experience and ideas. It must be made clear that their experience is valued highly - so start with questions:

- What important changes for the people has your work induced?
- Which changes are normally reported on? Which changes are often ignored?
- What has changed in people's behaviour? What have they learned?
- Have other groups learned from these experiences?
- Is it possible to find simple indicators for these changes?
- How far were these indicators observed by the group members?

PIM is introduced through workshops. Three sessions will probably be necessary to sensitize the staff and explain the concept. Methodologically, the introduction could contain the following:

1) field staff's observations, ideas and experience on monitoring, impact, participation
2) short introductory speech
3) short handouts using visualization, pictures, examples
4) detailed discussions on advantages and risks of PIM to field staff and group
5) adaptation of the proposed concept to the actual work of the field staff

Only after the field workers' concrete examples of socio-cultural impact have been collected and analyzed should a more theoretical introduction to PIM be given. It will be very important to listen to and respect the field staff's comments concerning

- the viability of the concept,
- the additional workload, and
- the usefulness of impact monitoring.

PIM does not ask for scientific definitions, but for subjectively important changes. The various actors have different views which need not be contradictory, but which are interlinked and have to be compared.