To pick up from where Gaby left off on her last “to be continued” post, our M&E team was juggling the idea of using baseline data from three sublocations (that we collected in Nov. 2011) to represent a larger geographic region to which our healthcare program is soon scaling. We recently concluded that we will keep our first healthcare baseline data, but also collect a new and larger sample to cover the areas healthcare is scaling to within two divisions. When we follow-up in a year or so, we’ll carry out the survey with two distinct samples – one with 3 sublocations and another with the about 9 sublocations. With this, we can also test the run-time for the programs, to know if maybe some knowledge or behaviors start to change before others.
Another challenge that Gaby talked about in a previous post is measuring the impact programs, despite their ever changing programmatic shifts and iterations. We hope that the metrics we’re collecting now for a baseline will still be valid when we follow-up to determine impact. Even in the upcoming Olympic Games, there are challenges with collecting data. In this recent Washington Post article, we see that swimsuit technology is changing over time thus leading to faster swim times due to reduced drag in the water. This year in London, we will most likely see a decline in swimming world records due to the decision to return back to a simpler suit. Go Michael Phelps! And Ryan Lochte! (I’m excited for the Kenyan runners too!)
Similar to this, the healthcare program is developing a Social Marketing strategy that aims to impact a widespread audience through community-wide campaigns. This technology will undoubtedly affect the way we measure our programs. It is with diligence that M&E will continually stay atop these undulations in the program areas, so we can know if the changes are effective in the short and long-term. Luckily, we don’t have to worry if the interventions get too successful (like in the Olympic Games); but we do have to consider the scalability and sustainability of each program.