Development Foundation in its handbook ‘A framework for
evaluating community development’ set out the
following series of steps for communities planning for
1 Determine the stakeholders in your initiative;
2 Agree the vision of how you intend things to
change in relation to a chosen list of elements that relate to the
dimensions of community
the quality of community
3 State the outputs you can achieve and the
wider outcomes you intend them to lead to. Outputs
are things that are done. Outcomes are measurements of how
close the work brings you to your overriding
4 Give attention to precisely how the
outputs and outcomes will be delivered. This requires agreement
about different stakeholders' inputs (resources
and processes (methods of working), to be adopted and specific
outputs to be delivered. This step concerns how agencies and
community groups will be engaged in the achievement of change, the
level of investment that will be made, and by whom.
5 Agree how the delivery will be
assessed. Though ultimately community achievement must be
measured by its outcomes, it is essential to know what the
relationship is between the methods used, the investment made, and
the outcomes which result. The evaluation therefore needs to encompass assessment of
the inputs, processes and outputs. Inputs should be quantified and
monitored for quality; the outputs of the processes adopted should
be measurable and time-scaled.
To help the new
volunteers to get involved with planning, the analogy of making an
apple pie was used.
The objective in making the pie is to
provide a pleasurable eating experience. This is the desired
outcome and it is measured (monitored) by its taste.
To make an apple pie needs
certain inputs: the motivation of the cook, the
recipe, the ingredients, and the availability of an oven. The
quality of each of these will have a significant impact on the
quality of the final product.
The process of making
the pie includes, following the recipe, preparing the apples,
mixing the pastry, setting the oven and baking the pie for the
required time at the required temperature. Again the quality of
these processes will affect the result.
The output is the pie
The outcome is the
result of the pie i.e. the meal is the main feature of the
pie-making management plan. The eating of the pie is in fact the
objective of managing its production, and the properties of the
pie, i.e. its state or condition, determine the quality of the
eating experience. A performance indicator would be whether
or not the pie is eaten.
Thinking about making apple pies helps in
understanding the ideas behind planning and evaluation. In
particular, the analogy helps clarify what outcomes a community was
hoping to achieve and the way in which they would develop
activities, which could help them happen. In turn this would be
likely to lead to a feedback review of who the stakeholders should
be, and whether the process was adequate to achieve the desired
outcome. The plan may well change as a result of this
feedback. The planners adapt to their achievements and this
is sometimes described as adaptive management.