Measuring Our Work: Internal and External Evaluations
From its inception in 1977, The Hunger Project was designed as a learning organization — one that continually assesses the landscape of development, identifies what is missing, and redesigns its programs to achieve the highest leverage impact based on what it has learned. As an organization deeply grounded in grassroots advocacy and development from the bottom up, we know that understanding the extent of our interventions’ impact at the community level is paramount for our community partners, our dedicated global staff, our investors, and policy makers considering adopting our approach. For these reasons, we are a data-driven organization. We measure what matters in order to deliver on our organizational mission to end chronic hunger and poverty.
We are continuously collecting data to monitor and evaluate our programs in every community in which we work. Monitoring allows us to be sure that community-owned program activities are taking place; evaluation allows us and our community partners to assess whether expected results are occurring. This process occurs through our highly developed Monitoring and Evaluation System (M&E System).
Below is a list of our current internal, external and community-led evaluations.
Community-Led Internal Evaluations
In July 2017, Ndereppe Epicenter in Senegal achieved self-reliance. This special issue brief analyzes the epicenter’s journey to self-reliance, looking at each of the eight indicators over time.
Chokwe Epicenter Evaluation in Mozambique  (highlights here); Conducted by THP M&E staff and enumerators
Outcome Evaluation Report for Six Epicenters in Ghana  (here); Conducted by THP M&E staff and enumerators
Outcome Evaluation: Highlights from the Boulkon Epicenter in Burkina Faso  (here); Conducted by THP M&E staff and enumerators
Majete I Baseline Evaluation in Malawi  (here); Conducted by THP M&E staff and enumerators
Outcome Evaluation Pilot Project: Measuring Outcomes of THP’s Epicenter strategy in Malawi and Ghana  (here); Conducted by THP M&E staff and enumerators
Evaluating the Invaluable: A Rapid Assessment of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Bangladesh ; Conducted by the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University (here)
Joint Terminal Evaluation Report of Debre Libanos Epicenter in Ethiopia ; Conducted by the Government of Ethiopia in partnership with THP (here)
Evaluations on THP’s M&E System
Using Innovative Communications to Improve Monitoring & Evaluation at THP ; Conducted by the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University (here)
Evaluating the Invaluable: A Rapid Assessment of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Bangladesh ; Conducted by the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University (here) [starting on page 53]
Descriptions of Studies
Baseline Data Collection | Routine Outcome Evaluations
At the beginning of a new program site, a baseline is conducted to establish the benchmark from which the impact is measured. The baseline will provide a basis for comparison in subsequent outcome valuations. The same data collection tools used in baseline outcome evaluation surveys will be used subsequent studies to track progress against those questions over time.
The policy to have baseline studies for our work began in 2012. Since some of our programs were well underway by this time, research was compiled from secondary sources to estimate baseline values for key performance indicators wherever possible. In follow up studies, it is clearly indicated when the research uses a secondary baseline value as a comparison point.
Midterm Data Collection | Routine Outcome Evaluations
All The Hunger Project programs have midterm studies to track performance against key indicators at the project’s midpoint. At minimum, a midterm evaluation will be conducted two years prior to the program site’s expected graduation date to allow for sufficient time to make adjustments to program design and implementation prior to exiting that community. When funding and resources are available, more than one midterm evaluation will be conducted. Conducting multiple midterm evaluations is especially important when the program strategy exceeds eight years, as important changes are likely to happen at various intervals.
Endline Data Collection | Routine Outcome Evaluations
Demonstrating progress from baseline is crucial for graduating program sites and participants. Thus, a final outcome evaluation is required to assess progress of communities and individuals towards meeting their goals, as well as, the key performance metrics identified by The Hunger Project.
An evaluation performed by entities outside of the program being evaluated. As a rule, external evaluation of a project, program or subprogram is conducted by entities free of control or influence by those responsible for the design and implementation of the project and programs.
In some program sites, three to five years after graduation, The Hunger Project will conduct a follow up (ex-post evaluation) to understand the effectiveness and sustainability of its approach. These studies aim to derive lessons and recommendations for improved program design and planning in the future.