M&E: The Importance of Measuring Impact
2016 Nanubhai intern Kristine explains what her job this summer is all about.
Hi everyone! My name is Kristine, and I’m working on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) as an intern with the Nanubhai Education Foundation (NEF) this summer.
M&E is a very important aspect of good development/non-profit work. The purpose of M&E is to make sure that good intentions become good actions. It ensures that programming is appropriate for a particular context and that it is having a positive impact. It also safeguards against potentially negative side effects in partner communities by establishing a commitment to the development principle of “Do No Harm.”
It is critical to apply the M&E lens to NEF’s work in rural Gujarat and Rajasthan. The idea of higher education scholarships for girls sounds good, but we must measure and track whether the aims of the program – primarily increased self-sufficiency and financial stability – are actually being achieved when the program is implemented. Additionally, we must question whether or not our programming makes sense in the context of rural Gujarat and Rajasthan. We need to ask meaningful questions, like whether or not families in our target communities actually want this kind of programming, or if we are offering a solution that might not actually meet their needs. NEF’s commitment to asking these questions and thoroughly measuring our impact sets us apart from other small Indian and international non-governmental organizations.
I have only worked in Gujarat for two weeks, but I can already see a demonstrable enthusiasm for NEF’s programming. Interested applicants have flooded into our office on a daily basis. Just this morning, several girls waited outside of our office for more than an hour before we opened to submit applications or hand in newly released test scores in the hope of strengthening their likelihood of securing a scholarship.
This anecdotal evidence is not the only indication that NEF is doing good work. The sheer number of applicants supports the idea that NEF’s programming is desired by those in our target communities in Gujarat and Rajasthan. We received 350 applications for approximately 35 scholarships in Gujarat this year, and 42 applied for approximately 10 scholarships in Rajasthan.
Our team will continue to work this summer to measure NEF’s impact, ensuring that we are “doing no harm” and achieving concrete goals. First impressions indicate that we are doing just that, and that our work is positive and desired by our partner communities.
By Kristine Landau
June 1st, 2016