Around the Institute

Social Network for Democracy, Evaluating MDG5, and Advocacy M&E – with Rigor!

October 8, 2010

Keeping Tabs on MDG5
RH Reality Check blogged this week on creative websites that raise awareness and track progress towards Millenium Development Goal (MDG) 5 which focuses on reducing maternal mortality and achieving universal access to reproductive health services by 2015. is the result of two celebrity artists joining forces to use the power of the internet to unite arts and activism around sexual reproductive health and rights. Another MDG5 monitoring group, MDG Watch, compares and contrasts national numeric reporting with data and local evidence, to show what the MDGs mean to those they are meant to serve.

Advocacy Evaluation and Rigor
Just a few short years ago, evaluators laughed at the thought that advocacy can be evaluated at all (in fact, some laughed in our faces!). But the field has since developed to the point where we now have a rapidly growing array of tools that serve us well in evaluating complex advocacy and policy change efforts. In their latest article, Lily Zandniapour and Kathy Brennan from Innovation Network explore the challenges of advocacy evaluation. They propose a broader, more holistic definition of rigor that focuses on embedding quality research standards and practice in each step of the evaluation process.

Building an online constituency for democracy and development in Africa
Last week, we highlighted Malcolm Gladwell’s critique of social media. While Gladwell argues that social media is best served to foster weak ties, this week we stumbled across (while in Dar es Salaam) a foundation called TrustAfrica that believes in the power of social media to forge meaningful links and foster dialogue amongst Africans. They are honest about social media’s limitations (especially when it comes to encouraging donations), but have also seen tremendous potential especially through Twitter and Facebook.