While we are broadly encouraged by our results to date, we – and more importantly you! – see a lot of room for improvement. As noted above, the lower scores are a valuable reminder of the challenge in front of us. The survey results identified the following specific areas.
- We can be more systematic in the way we collect feedback from our constituents, especially those in the developing world. We have plans to do so through the implementation of our internal impact planning, assessment and learning system, starting this year.
- An surprising number of survey respondents stated that they were not familiar with our tools and publications. We received many suggestions for better dissemination of our work that we intend to act on in 2010.
- You want to know specifically how our work on constituency voice is different from and additive to good participatory development practice in general. We are keenly aware that a lot of work has already been, and continues to be, done by other organizations in the field and that we are building on the existing practices of participatory development. We always acknowledge the work that we rely on and will do so even more prominently henceforth.
We also believe that Keystone’s approach is additive in at least three ways:
- Systematic. We provide methods for constituency voice to be implemented systematically across all programs and integrated with other management operations (including planning, monitoring, assessment and reporting results).
- Comparative. Taking a leaf from the customer satisfaction industry, we develop comparative feedback. This helpd intepret data by allowing benchmarking and comparisons (for instance with peer organisations) that can drive action. We aim to contribute to publicly available data sets for sector-wide benchmarking.
- Theory and practice of public reporting. We provide the theory and practice for validating an organization’s results, including feedback, by reporting back feedback to those who provided it. This adds the weight of deliberation to feedback, identifies improvements, and, when subsequently reported out publicly contributes to wider learning.
None of these are unique innovations in themselves, though each has new elements in the social change sector. We have come across no other organization that has brought them all together, as a system-wide response to the challenges of accountability, from planning to assessment to reporting, in ways that recognize the roles of all constituents.
- It has been brought up that our work contains jargon and is not always accessible to different audiences. Internally, we have also identified the need to simplify the language we use in our communications. As a start, we have recently launched this new, more user-friendly website.
- We had a disappointingly low level of comment on the draft report. Even though a public comment period was set and all 620 survey respondents were invited to provide feedback on the first draft of this report, we only received four responses and these came in via email rather than through the website comment function. We do not take silence to be consent in this case and over the coming months we undertake to explore how we can create a more genuine dialogue with our constituents about our work.
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