Thursday February 27th, 2020 ARCO LAB

Impact evaluation of the projects promoted by the Fund to contrast educational poverty of minors

formazione valutazione di impatto dei progetti discussione dati quantitativi dati qualitativi con i bambini arco devianza minorile

In 2018, ARCO’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact Evaluation has been chosen as external evaluator in 5 projects promoted by the Fund to contrast educational poverty of minors, managed by the social business Con i Bambini. Involved in 6 regional and national projects,  Reserachers have developed and implemented, for esach, specific impact evaluation plans. An experience that allowed them to deepen the reflection on the use of quantitative and qualitative data in the evaluation procedures.

Impact evaluation is a concept that has recently entered the world of the Italian third sector. The will to apply it to projects to fight against educational poverty of minors is an important innovation as it represents a first step towards the dissemination of the culture of impact evaluation throughout Italy.

Impact evaluation of projects of the Fund to contrast educational poverty of minors

The specific characteristics of the interventions promoted by the Fund required flexible impact evaluation strategies, capable of integrating quantitative and qualitative approaches based on the needs of each project. In almost all cases, in fact, the activities promoted by the project partnerships proved to be incompatible with an experimental or quasi-experimental evaluation approach.

The challenge for ARCO evaluators was precisely to try to adapt the concepts of impact evaluation also to small organizations that operate daily in the social field so they proposed mixed, quantitative-qualitative, or only qualitative strategies capable of grasping their value.

The EHD Methodology

For the analysis, Researchers turned to the EHD, Evaluating Human Development, method developed within the same Research Center ARCO. Based on the Capabilities Approach of Amartya Sen, the EHD method uses a set of multidimensional indicators related to the paradigm of Sustainable Human Development to analyse the expansion of individual and collective opportunities. The use of qualitative and participatory methods allows to deepen the complexity of the dynamics of local development, adapting the evaluation strategy to the specificity of the context of intervention and puts the beneficiaries at the centre of the whole evaluation process.

Concerning the projects of the Fund to contrast educational poverty of minors, the need to adapt strategies has highlighted the importance of involving the external evaluator in all phases of the project’s progress. During the design an external collaborator was necessary to help the partnership to effectively integrate project actions with evaluation strategies; during implementation, the same external eye was needed to collect longitudinal data necessary for impact evaluation.

Having been involved in all 6 projects promoted by the social business Con i Bambini, Researchers noticed an important change in the mentality of the lead organization that presented the different project proposals. First, they put greater attention to the value of the results of an impact evaluation, both in terms of external communication and internal sharing. Furthermore, the dissemination of the fundamental concepts of the impact evaluations has influenced the way lead organizations plan interventions. In particular, they started to pay more attention on the degree of evaluability of each activity they insert in their projects. .

ARCO Researchers presented their results on projects impact evaluation during the meeting  La sfida della valutazione dell’impatto per i grandi donatori promoted by Social Value Italia e Torino Social Impact in July 2019.

social value italia valutazione dell'impatto delle donazioni dei grandi donatori

Discover more on ARCO activity within the Fund to contrast children educational poverty

For further information contact
Marta RussoCoordinator
M&E, Impact Evaluation Unit
marta.russo[at]arcolab.org
info[at]arcolab.org

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