By Payal Mulchandani
Our vlog on ‘Why data is importance to achieve the SDGs in India’, published last year, outlined the key benefits of data in measuring and monitoring the SDGs. Quality data helps in the assessment and management of SDGs, and improves governance, transparency, accountability and civic participation.
With this focus, the 4th Wheel with support from Swedish Institute is hosting a workshop in Mumbai on 15th December 2018 on ‘Identifying contextualized indicators to measure the Sustainable Development Goals in India’. The key expected outcomes of the workshop are improved understanding among the participants on measuring SDGs and development of indicators; and an exchange of knowledge and best practices on assessing impact of social programs.
Access to quality data makes it easier for the development sector to identify critical problem areas and develop solutions to meet these challenges. Program planning, combined with effective monitoring and evaluation enhances the impact of development programs. Therefore, development of appropriate indicators is essential for program planning, implementation and impact.
They serve as a reference point for monitoring, decision-making and stakeholder consultations. Further, they clarify the relationship between activities, outputs, outcomes and the goals of a program. According to a Results-Based Management (RBM) which focuses on the ‘life cycle’ of programs, indicators should ideally have SMART properties: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound.
Further, an indicator must define four core aspects: who is changing (population), how much should change (targets), how much is good enough (threshold), and finally, by when outcomes should be achieved (timeline).
- Apart from indicator development, creating a Theory of Change (TOC) is crucial for an organization working in the development sector. It is a comprehensive description of how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context. The key benefits of developing a TOC include:
- i. articulating a ‘change mission’ for effective fundraising,
- ii. strengthening program planning,
- iii. Identifying long-term goals,
- iv. improving stakeholder communication and buy-in,
- v. developing a strong monitoring and evaluation system,
- vi. establishing causality,
- vii. testing assumptions,
- viii. documenting change,
- ix. supporting participatory program design, implementation and evaluation, and
- x. promoting evidence-based decision-making within organization.
The upcoming workshop is designed for participants to discuss data collaborations to share, and exchange and develop data indicators. The proceedings will include topics related to data collection methods, data analysis and visualization, capacity development for better data, and using administrative data for statistics. Further, three reputed organizations will present their TOCs at the workshop, and set the stage for a discussion on how useful a TOC is as a planning tool.