Overcoming the Big Challenges: Measuring Impact

Solutions Journalism Network

 Certain challenges are endemic to all forms of social entrepreneurship; impact measurement and evaluation is one of these big challenges. Sometimes what seems like a great idea to solve a social or environmental problem fails—or worse, it does more harm than good.  How do we know whether a program really works?  How do we differentiate between programs that are backed up with strong evidence, as opposed to the ones that just have great PR? What kinds of evidence do we need to see? How do we differentiate between outputs and actual outcomes?

The stories in this collection include evidence-based interventions across different settings and levels of scope. Two examine policy interventions: one features a re-thinking of how we do townhall meetings in an effort to elevate our political discourse, while another explores a Louisiana alternative school serving at risk students. The other three stories measure environmental impacts, ranging from measures as small as altering house cats behavior to save local wildlife, to an intervention intended to save Africa's largest rainforest from deforestation.

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