Words like “sustainability,” “integration” and “impact” are often used, but less often actually measured. PCI is committed to rescuing these terms from their current status as broad, imprecise concepts and transforming them into demonstrable outcomes through innovative approaches to measurement.
Because project funds, by definition, are unavailable once a project ends, post-project measures are few and far between and therefore our collective understanding of what does or doesn’t lead to sustainable impact is always challenging to assess and quantify. In 2013, PCI completed its second post-project study in Bolivia, sampling communities that had participated in its USDA-funded school feeding programs from 2005 to 2008. Continuation of the project, contributions by parents to school feeding, teacher involvement in relevant learning activities, and maintenance of school infrastructure were all measured with very positive results.
A post-project study of PCI’s child survival program in Indonesia from 2003 to 2007 was developed and approved for funding in 2013. In addition, presentations on PCI’s work to measure sustainability during and after project implementation were made at two major conferences in 2013, further establishing PCI’s leadership in this area. PCI secured funding from USAID to develop a Sustainable Impact Toolkit designed to help development practitioners around the world better measure, understand and implement programming for sustainable impact.
Lives Changed Indices (LCI)
PCI’s LCI is designed to measure change across seven domains: poverty, education, food security, social capital, household expenditure and savings, health and gender equity. In 2013, PCI conducted a validation study confirming that the LCI is accurately measuring the domains as planned. Also in 2013, PCI began execution of a case/control study in both Ethiopia and Guatemala to assess whether PCI’s intervention significantly improves outcomes when compared to a similar economic empowerment approach. Using the LCI, analyses have been conducted on baseline data from three WE Initiative countries: Ethiopia, Bolivia and Guatemala.
2013 was also the year that PCI stepped up its use of information technology for gathering, sharing and learning from a wide array of information both within and outside of PCI’s own programming. PCI is expanding the utilization of Salesforce as a tool for organizing and reporting information to improve fundraising and programming performance, as well as the ability to connect PCI staff around the world. Several mobile data collection and analysis methodologies are being tested in Ethiopia, Tanzania and India. In Ethiopia, community facilitators working in urban slums and in remote farming communities are using mobile technology to improve the data input and quality. In Tanzania, school teachers are using mobile phones to collect daily schoolfeeding and attendance records. And finally, PCI continues to cultivate its long-working relationship with Qualcomm to develop and disseminate a mobile application for use by microfinance institutions and female borrowers in India.