Rocket Science

What I have been doing over the past days is certainly not rocket science. Evaluating project work is for many people in the NGO sector not their favourite pass time. It is something that is often seen as ‘required by the donor’ and comes along usually with complicated frameworks and targets that were supposed to be realised. Fortunately this time I can do a qualitative evaluation, which makes my working life easier, but actually I find it quite an interesting challenge to draw up a coherent narrative on what the success and drawbacks were of the project.

Fortunately I’m blessed with Pande. Pande has had the lead here in Indonesia and her networking skills have made this series of interviews all the more easier. She’s send out my questionnaire in advance, managed to get them returned and to set up 2 hour appointments for the interviews of their precious time (taking into account the traffic of Jakarta, this is rather a miracle). Moreover she showed me what an excellent group of organisations we have been working with. Each of them have excellent reputations and have taken on the methodology offered in various ways.

Moreover it made me realise that the work has had an impact, varying from expected policy changes, but the spin offs have even been better and much more practical, such as ideas for setting up human rights databases, better assistance to women suffering from domestic violence due to better knowledge on regulations, published articles, a television show in Sumatra on the work with the methodology (after Nigerian TV, I almost made it onto this program as well), efforts to change attitudes of policy makers, new participatory trainings inspired on our original training…It is rewarding to see such outcomes.

An unexpected outcome came from a German donor as well. She’s decided to use the methodology for the next three years in a new project, inspired by all the work done by the Indonesian organisations. This means the work will continue without further support from our side. And that’s exactly what you want! She also was a bit shocked, how such an organisation that delivered such ‘solid work and good products’ was closing down.

All this has been helping me to soften my personal struggle and frustration of the past year, in coming to terms with this situation. Definitely, because the thing that mattered most in this process, to still deliver work that helps bringing human rights into practice has born unexpected fruits and will continue to do so. One way or another.

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