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VIP Profile: Adele Billups, Alistair Dawson, Andrew Doty, Brian Haupt, Laura Nissley and Diana Salman

Published 02/14/2013 by Global Communities

VIP Profile: Adele Billups, Alistair Dawson, Andrew Doty, Brian Haupt, Laura Nissley and Diana Salman

Rwanda, January 2013

Using the Most Significant Change Method to Evaluate Higa Ubeho Program Impact

Around 72,000 families are assisted by the USAID-funded Higa Ubeho program in Rwanda (Higa Ubeho means ‘be determined and live’ in Kinyarwanda). But where is the program most effective, and how could its interventions be strengthened to offer better services and contribute to sustainable strategies for responding to health and economic shocks these families encounter?
To answer these questions in the fall of 2013, Global Communities partnered with the American University (AU), School of International Service (SIS), Washington, DC, to conduct the Higa Ubeho Program Evaluation for Health Education in Rwanda as a practicum offered by AU to second year masters’ degree candidates at the SIS. For the AU, the practicum satisfies the requirements for graduation while expanding the professional portfolio of masters’ students. For Global Communities, this partnership, set up as a pilot program, offered a chance to conduct program impact evaluation using the Most Significant Change (MSC) methodology which included conducting household-level interviews to collect data, photos, and testimonies, and to analyze obtained results.
“Most Significant Change” (MSC) is defined as a form of participatory monitoring and evaluation that involves the collection of significant change (SC) stories from beneficiaries at the field level, and the systematic selection of the most important of these stories.  Following intensive research and planning, in January 2013, the AU team traveled to Rwanda.
The beneficiaries that participated in the evaluation were adult heads of household who were either the direct beneficiaries of Higa Ubeho or guardians of Higa Ubeho-recognized orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs). Many of the beneficiaries that were interviewed were enrolled in multiple projects that are sponsored by the Higa Ubeho program such as the Internal Savings and Lending Groups (ISLG) and the Farmer Field Schools (FFS). In total, the AU team conducted 86 interviews and one focus group in 3 out of 20 districts in which Higa Ubeho works.
MSC is intended to be an ongoing process for monitoring and evaluation, and the AU team worked with Higa Ubeho staff to train them in utilizing this new method of monitoring and evaluation and improving its application. They will use this experience to train other staff in performing evaluations using MSC, thus expanding the overall monitoring and evaluation capacity of the Rwanda team.