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From Outputs to Outcomes: Demystifying Impact Evaluation

Impact evaluation

When organizations implement development programs and interventions in communities, it's important to measure whether those efforts are truly making a positive impact.

But what exactly constitutes "impact" and how can it be assessed? Here's a basic guide to understanding and evaluating the effects of development initiatives:

Defining Impact

Impact refers to the broader, long-term changes brought about by a program or intervention. It goes beyond immediate outputs and outcomes to look at the sustainable, cumulative effects on people's lives and communities. These changes could be positive or negative, intended or unintended, and they often extend to the wider community, not just the direct participants of the program.

Impact is not just about immediate outputs and outcomes, but the enduring positive effects over many years and even decades. For example, an agriculture program's impacts could include steady improvements in crop yields, household nutrition, and farmer incomes in the targeted communities. Another example is an education initiative's impacts could include improved learning outcomes, higher incomes, and reduced poverty rates over time in the targeted area.

An impact assessment is about determining the relationship between the development program and these long-term changes, and goes beyond just the outputs of a programme or intervention.

Impact Assessment vs. Other Forms of Assessment

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​​​Ann-Murray Brown

Monitoring, Evaluation and
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