Influencing communities to make behavioral changes—paternalistic?

Planning for Impact
Why plan for impact? Because development isn’t keeping pace with growing need. Part of that is because the projects that we design and implement haven’t traditionally been designed to achieve long term impact.

Why our focus on impact?

Escalating energy and food prices, shifting weather patterns, and increasing population pressures have led donors and INGOs to realize that we must use research to identify what has impact in developmentand act with urgency. We need to shift from activity and output-based development to outcome and impact-based development.

  • “It is time to take stock, admit that business-as-usual hasn’t worked, agree to change mind-sets, and really change the way that everyone works.” Vanessa Rubin, CARE International.
  • “What is important today is to realize that the time for talking is long past. Now is the time for action.” Jacques Diouf, Director General FAO. A recent FAO study estimates that 1.2 billion people go hungry every day.
  • “The stakes for increasing the effectiveness of philanthropy are very high. If we’re going to solve complex problems like climate change or AIDS, we must become much more serious about getting resources where they can have the most impact.” Jacob Harold, Hewlett Foundation.

What is impact? What are outcomes?
World Bank definitions:

  • Impact is the long-term, sustainable changes in the conditions of people and the state of the environment that structurally reduce poverty, improve human well-being and protect and conserve natural resources.
  • Outcomes are behavior changes in partners – changes that contribute to the long-term sustainable improvement in people’s lives.

We write impact statements for our Partner Projects that represent the very long-term goal that we’re hoping to achieve, and outcome statements for each one of our sub-goals which represent mid-term achievements that let us know that we are progressing towards our long-term impact.

A very important point:

Projects can only influence communities in making positive behavioral changes. For example, we can introduce the concept of hand washing, but it is ultimately their decision to incorporate it into their daily lives. We can’t force them, only influence their decision. Since we can only hope to influence our community, the outcomes and impacts are happening on a new level of development that depends on sustained behavioral change.

And how do we insure sustainability? How do we insure our communities will incorporate these behavioral changes? Through community buy-in. Through the community’s sense of ownership of the project.

How do you feel about influencing communities to make behavioral changes?

What’s happening in the region where you live?
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