Baseline studies are all about gaining insight into the behavior of beneficiaries and other stakeholder groups and identifying the underlying motivations for those behaviors. In addition, there is a need to uncover potential issues and implications that will impact on how the programme should be executed. Finally, baseline studies provide an opportunity to set up key indicators and establish benchmarks for future monitoring and evaluation initiatives.
Rapid Asia has carried out baseline and assessment studies in several countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa, and through our experience we have identified a number of key success factors.
- Clear understanding of the programme outcome.
Insights are only insights if they go to the heart of what the programme is trying to achieve.
- Partner collaboration.
There will always be an organization or individual who already possess expertise in the area of study. Our approach is to learn from them and involve them as much as possible.
- Stakeholder engagement.
Involving stakeholders to obtain their ‘buy in’ and a level of ownership of the programme is essential, particularly if the programme involves political or other sensitivities.
- Develop key indicators.
At some point the programme will be subject to an evaluation so it makes good sense to establish some key performance indicators as early as possible.
- Consider implications of local conditions.
Every country is different and this can impact on how the assessment is run, both in terms of design and execution. Local customs, level of education, penetration of media and technology as well as religious beliefs can all profoundly influence the results.