Leveraging innovation towards rapid, effective and robust assessments
Assessments identify and estimate needs, monitor progress, evaluate performance and measure impact – all vital components of an organisation’s programme management cycle.
Issues with Assessments
Despite the important role of assessments in programming they are often underutilised or utilised ineffectively by organisations due to the following key issues:
Assessments tend to be costly hence conducted sparingly if at all. Because of the cost, proxy assessments such as large-scale national surveys (e.g., DHS, MICS are sometimes used instead. However, since these assessments provide highly aggregated results at the national level and at best at the first administrative unit level (e.g., regions, provinces) and are only done at 3 or 5-year intervals, they are usually not relevant to most organisations that implement programmes at local level (i.e., district administrative level and lower) and that intervene on problems or conditions that change regularly and at much shorter time intervals (e.g., health, nutrition, food security, issues related to disasters).
Not all problems or issues dealt with by programmes have developed and established indicators. For those that do have set indicators, not all of them are well-developed and not all of them are designed to be measurable through simple and rapid tools and instruments. Some indicator sets also tend to be quite lengthy and unfocused making them unwieldy to use rapidly and routinely. These challenges with indicators make assessments more difficult to setup and startup and more so challenging to scale up across the whole organisation.
Assessments require a fair level of technical capacity and expertise which may not always be available within an organisation. Hence, assessments are often contracted out to technical consultants with the appropriate skills and know how. However, reliance on outsourced expertise means that organisational capacity to perform assessments is not built and/or enhanced and organisational systems and structures that support and encourage routine conduct of assessments and use of the information they provide is not institutionalised.
We at Valid International believe that there is a better way for organisations to approach assessments. With the appropriate metrics to measure the problem or issues in question, robust analytics to estimate the value of the indicators being measured, the right technology – simple to use tools that aid in making assessments rapid and efficient, and an effective training that is based on a learner-oriented and problem-based learning system, organisations can take control of their assessment needs and goals.
Valid International offers modules on metrics, analytics, technology and training for assessments which have been designed to support organisations to setup and implement, analyse and report, and manage and sustain assessments needed for them to run highly-effective programmes.