AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

CAT | Disaster and Emergency Management Evaluation

Greetings AEA365! My name is Miki Tsukamoto and I am a Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at the Planning and Evaluation Department in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

What if you had an opportunity to add a human face to baseline surveys and reflect numbers in a more appealing way?

In a joint initiative with the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) and the Swedish Red Cross,  I recently had such an opportunity. We piloted video as a tool to complement a baseline survey which had been carried out for URCS’s community resilience programme. The video aimed to capture stories from communities according to selected objectives/indicators of the programme, with the idea that in three-years’ time this tool could then be used again to measure and demonstrate change or highlight gaps in programming.

Lessons Learned: Baseline data is important for planning, monitoring and evaluating a project’s performance. In many organizations, the end product of such a survey can sometimes result in a report filled with numbers; which, although useful for some purposes, is not always understood by all stakeholders, including some of the communities we aim to assist. Taking this into consideration, video seemed to be an ideal medium for what the IFRC needed since it:

  • Offers visual imagery and can transcend language barriers if needed;
  • Allows community(ies) with an opportunity to participate and directly express their views during the interviews; and
  • Provides a more appealing way to capture and report on the baseline.

Here are 3 lessons that I took away from this experience:

GatekeepersGatekeepers: It is important to identify your gatekeeper(s), since this will be necessary for meeting community members on the ground, and in obtaining their permission to film and in accepting the presence of the film crew in the community(ies) and in the randomly selected individual households.


Independent InterpreterIndependent Interpreter:
If interpretation is necessary, an independent interpreter is key since s/he serves as the voice of the interviewee, as well as the interviewer. S/He has an important role in reducing bias and providing a comfortable environment for an honest dialogue during the interview process.

Community buy-inCommunity buy-in: The filming process and the community’s better understanding of the aims of the video project, can help build a stronger buy in from the community(ies) for your programme overall.

Rad Resources: We have two version of the baseline video (if you are reading this via email that does not support embedded video, please click through back to the online post):

Short Version: 

Long Version: 

Hot Tip: For those interested in innovations in the field of humanitarian technology and its practical impact Humanitarian Technology: Science, Systems and Global Impact 2014 conference is coming up soon  in Boston, MA from 13 to 15 May 2014.

Rad Resources:

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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