Lever for Change approaches all of our work dynamically. Our plans are never static. As such, we anticipate that applicants to the Stronger Democracy Award will offer plans that are also dynamic. We place a high priority on monitoring, evaluation, and learning. We value monitoring, evaluation, and learning activities that are capable of adapting, as the context and project work evolves, yet sufficiently rigorous to document and measure results, learn from them, course correct, and adapt, as necessary. If you are selected as a Finalist, you will be required to submit a detailed plan that demonstrates the thinking for monitoring, evaluation, and learning.
Please take time to understand how Lever for Change defines monitoring, evaluation, and Learning and familiarize yourself with the questions that a Finalist will need to address.
Monitoring is a process for systematically collecting data and information (e.g., ongoing documentation of project activities landscape tracking, organization performance/capacity assessment). Monitoring includes collecting information to assess your project’s performance and the progress toward intended changes (outcomes) of your proposed solution.
If you are selected as a finalist you will need to outline your monitoring plan. This includes outlining the type of information that you expect to document, track, and assess over time to better understand how your project is proceeding such as the:
Here are some of the issues that we expect you to address in your monitoring plan:
Evaluation is a systematic and objective assessment of your work and is used to measure the outcomes and impact of the project over time. Evaluation is critical to determine if your project is on track to meet its targets, to understand “what works,” and to identify if the project is meeting any expected changes and impacts. Additionally, evaluation should help you measure your results, learn, course correct, adapt and make better-informed decisions.
The Stronger Democracy Award recipient may conduct an internal and/or external evaluation. An internal evaluation is conducted by an internal evaluator which is an individual or group/team that is a member of your project team or organization/collaboration. The Stronger Democracy Award team may ask that the award recipient engages in an external evaluation. An external evaluation is conducted by an individual or group/team that is not a member of your project or organization/collaboration. The cost of your internal and external evaluation should be reflected in your budget as a line item. We understand that your evaluation plan may be subject to further refinement once you have identified your external evaluator.
As part of the application process, you will need to outline your plan to evaluate your theory of change. We also want to know how you will measure progress towards achieving the specified outcomes and impacts of your solution over time.
Theory of change is a narrative description of how this project expects change to happen, including the hypothesized pathways for change, who the players are, and expectations regarding their roles, influencing capacity, as well as an analysis of what is known and unknown.
Outcomes are the direct benefits of your intervention (solution) as well as other changes that may be a consequence of the intervention.
Impacts are used to understand the ultimate contributions or attributions of your intervention. Among the types of questions, we expect to be addressed in your evaluation are the following:
Learning involves the synthesis and application of information and insights from multiple sources (monitoring data, evaluation results about progress, your Theory of Change, engagement with impacted communities and experts) to build knowledge. Learning occurs incrementally and iteratively over time and is used to reflect on how a project is meeting its intended and unintended changes. Learnings from your project helps the organizations to understand what is and is not working and assist in determining if your solution is effective and remains relevant. Learning should be broadly shared to inform others working on similar problems.
If you are selected as a finalist, you will need to outline your plan for learning. Among the types of questions we expect to be addressed are the following: