Framing stakeholder consultations in the context of livelihoods assets and local processes can support systematic evaluation and impact assessment and allows us to explore linkages and synergy between project effects and outcomes.
It provides a useful framework to reveal and analyse quantifiable evidence of change - both expected and unexpected change - attributable to project actions.
Evaluation and Impact Assessment
We use livelihoods analysis as components of project evaluation, impact assessment and to critically review project theories of change.
It can help establish if project activities have translated to desirable impacts as per the OECD-DAC 'results chain'…
Inputs → Activities → Outputs → Outcomes → Impact
…and it can identify unrealistic assumptions and help provide a basis to develop alternative future strategies.
The institutional viability of project activities and structures relates very strongly to social and political capital at local level and to policies, institutions and processes (PIPs), more widely.
In the context of development projects, the sustainability of outcomes is often a function of the linkage and inter-dependency between target groups and existing formal institutions (technical service providers, the private sector, farmers' associations etc.).
In the humanitarian context, the livelihoods approach resonates with several DAC criteria, in particular:
- relevance(to different stakeholders and livelihoods groups);
- connectedness(links to future needs and cross-cutting issues);
- effectiveness (whether projects meet purpose) and;
- impact (intended & unintended human, social, financial, technical & environmental).
We have provided project support in the context of livelihoods diversification and income-generating activities in two distinct settings:
– Sector-specific initiatives (fisheries, forests, small-scale agriculture and livestock)
– Integrated rural development or food security projects (floodplain management, coping strategies in arid and semi-arid lands, forest and watershed management).
We aim to assess the true potential, local relevance and impact of promoted livelihoods diversification.
Consensus Building and Planning
Our approach to Consensus Building and Planning emphasises engagement with secondary stakeholders and the important role of social and political capital (confidence and awareness contributing to influence).
We support facilitating organisations to conduct ongoing process documentation that tracks changes in social and political capital and that helps teams to recognise institutional breakthroughs and stories of success associated with PIPs.