The International Land Coalition (ILC) is a global alliance of 207 intergovernmental and civil society organisations, working together to promote secure and equitable access to and control over land for poor women and men through advocacy, dialogue, knowledge sharing, capacity building, and empowerment. The ILC Secretariat is hosted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome.
Progress in influencing national and international policy frameworks and systems requires engagement with external actors if they are to adapt the frameworks they develop and implement. The pathways towards these changes are highly diverse, complex and unpredictable. It is therefore difficult to predefine milestones or indicators as reliable yardsticks for progress towards ILC’s strategic objectives.
Having reviewed the existing logframe, MDF Training & Consultancy concluded that using the predefined indicators to measure progress was inappropriate, as some indicators lacked specificity and the set of indicators in general had lost its relevance in effectively measuring ILC progress. Measuring the existing indicators risked not only failing to recognise unforeseen but relevant developments towards ILC’s external objectives, but also failing to capture ILC successes in influencing others.
MDF Training & Consultancy therefore developed and applied a mixed-method review approach, specifically designed for the review of a network organisation pursuing complex, non-linear change, and to provide insight in the extent to which the Coalition had succeeded in influencing others, irrespective of how this had been achieved.
We used Outcome Mapping as this method recognises that actors (people and organisations) drive change processes. Recognising these actors and their intended ‘behavioural change’ is an important starting point for mapping actual progress. The exact nature of how and what will change is difficult to predict. Outcome Mapping is therefore not based on ‘verifying’ whether predetermined results have been achieved, but aims to map reality in terms of demonstrable behavioural change of selected actors.
The highly participatory manner in which MDF Training & Consultancy applied the Outcome Mapping methodology (and consecutively Outcome Harvesting during the evaluation phase) contributed to learning opportunities from both the mid-term review and evaluation. Involving the Coalition from the onset in tailoring research tools to its own context (i.e. developing specific pathways of change) helped discuss and implement recommendations in later stages.
ILC developed a detailed Action Plan for the implementation of the mid-term review recommendations. More specifically, ILC started to change the way success was measured (using less linear approaches of monitoring). Moreover, ILC continued to increase its country focus, as it is at the national level where tangible results need to be achieved. Internally, ILC more actively fulfils its role as knowledge broker, and continues to decentralise and redefine Secretariat functions.
Inspired by the evaluation, ILC started the revision of its monitoring system and started to equip regional network facilitators (amongst others by training sessions provided by MDF Training & Consultancy) to fulfil their role in energising and stimulating network dynamics at national level.
Both the mid-term review and the evaluation served as a sound and systematic basis for a participatory learning process. Our combined role of evaluator and learning facilitator was one of the elements making this evaluation a useful one for all parties involved.
Find the report here.
More information on the evaluation here.