FROM THE FOUNDERS
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Daniel Marco Siegfried
Co-Founder & Managing Director Programmes
Impact evaluation was one of those tasks that was listed as important, but not time-critical and therefore stayed on my to-do list for too long. I simply did not have the time nor the expertise to tackle this task by myself. In March 2018, the solution presented itself in form of a CV from a candidate with just the right qualifications. After a few rounds of interviews, Sahara Singh started her assignment with Child’s Dream in July 2018 to finally develop an impact evaluation strategy that not only covers most of our core programmes, but also strikes the right balance between additional resources required and added value and insights gained. The main objective of our impact evaluation is to improve our work for our beneficiaries and, of course, to demonstrate the success of our work to our supporters.
We have always monitored and evaluated our programmes, but we have never approached M&E in a systematic and scientific way. Our focus was also more on monitoring and evaluating outputs rather than longer term outcomes. It was also difficult, in the past, to measure long term outcomes since we did not have such a long timeline to look back at. We evaluated the schools that have received our buildings to find out which schools have weak management so that we could intervene, but we never compared our indicators to a baseline. Similarly, we tracked our university scholarship alumni to find out what they are doing after graduation, but we never went much beyond that. However, we always had a good hunch about whether our programmes were working well or not and why. Nevertheless, it is very comforting to know that our intuitions are now finally backed up with facts and research.
Sahara, together with the teams, has developed M&E log-frames for the following core programmes: school and boarding house construction, high and vocational school scholarship programmes, our Children’s Medical Fund and our university scholarship programmes. These programmes represented roughly 60% of our total project expenses in 2019. We hope to increase this coverage gradually over the years.
In 2019 our teams had to lift the extra workload from our new M&E activities. Together we did 83 school evaluations, 18 boarding house evaluations and collected the surveys from 420 high and vocational schools and 156 university scholarship students and alumni. The entire Children’s Medical Fund database was cleaned up and 1,890 patient records were aligned.
The results from our impact measurement are very encouraging. Here are some of the highlights: 83% of our university scholarship alumni are employed, of whom 51% are in the non-profit sector and 13% are in the government sector. 78% found jobs related to their field studies and 26% of our Myanmar alumni are entrepreneurs and have established their own organisations. Our high and vocational school scholarship programme has a graduation rate of 85%, which is well above the national average. 81% of our alumni are either studying or working. An overwhelming 97% of alumni are satisfied with our support. Since its start in 2006, our Children’s Medical Fund has closed 1719 cases, of which 73.6% were treated successfully and 5.4% did not require any treatment. Of out the 1264 successfully treated cases, 1022 cases were life-saving. In Laos and Myanmar, we have reduced classroom overcrowding from an average of 43 students per classrooms to an average of 31 students per classroom. In average, all the 83 schools evaluated have seen a dramatic improvement in school building safety and classroom learning environment.
On the other hand, we also found some weaknesses. Our Laotian scholarship alumni struggle more to find jobs due to the limited job market. Although most of the schools we built more than five years ago are still structurally very sound, some of these schools struggle to maintain their toilets due to water shortages. These are important insights that will help us to improve our designs for future projects.
I hope that you appreciate this report and our transparency about the impact of our work. A special thanks goes to Sahara and our extremely dedicated staff who made this report possible.