Nepal WASH Blog Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Development in Nepal

August 11, 2010

Claiming campaign changes, is it possible?

Filed under: Advocacy,Campaigns — Tags: , — Shikha Shrestha @ 11:53 am

People desire appreciations that motivate them to give their fullest potential and lead life with pride of their competencies.  Some people tend to be very conscious of their accomplishments and they articulate well that project them as successful citizen. On contrary, there are some people who lag behind on articulating what they have achieved and seem to prefer corners than coming to limelight. The journeys of these people are entirely different and their lives do not resemble same fame. Isn’t it same even for different nature of development programs?

Service delivery programs focus on developing infra-structures and making people access to services. It can be construction of toilets and taps. Nature of this program allows people to see tangible effects right after accomplishment of this projects. People tend to be part of this project as they can easily benefit and count achievements in numbers. It is very easy to count changes and project the number of service users by counting numbers of people using this infrastructure. It is very easy and simple for claiming the changes, isn’t it?

It has been proved that service delivery alone is not sufficient. We have seen lots of infrastructures that have not been properly utilized. We come across some development interventions that seem to us more like wastage of money and wish there could have been good use of the resources in developing countries. These bobbling of brain and ideas helped in emergence of sector influencing concept. It aspired on ensuring best use of resources and putting government in forefront seat as driver of development.

Social campaigning has been integral component of sector influencing. Campaigning is speaking up, drawing a community’s attention to an important issue, and directing decision-makers towards a solution.  In most instances, campaigning foresee larger changes in society and political dimensions. It is natural for all campaigners to work together with large group of people, organizations, networks and alliances. In this scenario, attribution to the larger changes is bit complicated that it seems.

Nothing is impossible in this world, if people do not fear of mistakes and put their brains together. Component of measuring changes should be inbuilt from the inception of the campaign. In most instances, campaigning aims in changing behavior of people or group for changing power dynamics. Therefore, indicators to measure changes of behavior should be taken seriously. Innovative approaches of monitoring like outcome mapping that focus on measuring behavior changes can be used as the useful monitoring tools for tracking out the changes brought forward by these campaigns.

Baseline survey and formative research focusing on quantitative and qualitative aspect act as a baseline references for measuring changes. The former will focus on what is situation while later analyze why this situation. Therefore, mixed approach of analyzing the situation before hand is very crucial factor to enable us in prescribing changes that can campaign can bring in the similar setting.

It is true that there are changes in society but how can we claim that these changes are because of our interventions? These are some struggling questions that comes to our mind as the campaigners, isn’t it? There are several ways to help us in attributing these changes. The most successful evidence has revealed that attribution can be done only when there is comparison. Experimental mode of evaluation where there is comparison between experiment community with our campaign interventions and similar control community without any such interventions. Differences in these two communities are considered as the attribution of these campaigning interventions. However, it has been found that it is not affordable to find this control community and keep them aloof from any such interventions. In this context, partly experimental mode has been used where experiment community will be compared with similar comparison community. The crucial thing that should be considered is experiment, control and comparison should be similar at the point of campaign initiation.

Evaluation methods

Campaigners should be attentive in analyzing changes in exposed communities. There will be two types of people in the community, one very active and other passive ones. People with enthusiasm are generally the ones that grasp knowledge spread by the campaign and change their attitude. It will then only inspire these people to change their practices. Therefore, it is very crucial to analyze what made these people active and what made them change their behavior to make sure that our campaign has helped them to change their attitude and behavior.

Claiming big changes is a thrill, isn’t it? It is so natural that all campaigners engaged in sanitation and water will want to claim that they have contributed in having sanitation and water as right in draft constitution of Nepal. Claiming of these changes should be supported by process documentation on what as the campaigners, networks or alliance has contributed in bringing such policy changes? We should claim what we can prove with pride. In the long run, we can claim that these are the good policies and practice changes we brought together as the group, not as an individual. So, why not start tracking and attributing these changes so that we can lead life full of aspirations and achievements?

Written by Shikha Shrestha, Advocacy and Research Officer, WaterAid in Nepal

This blog was created by WaterAid under the creative commons licence