Wednesday 26 February 2020

Social impact measurement is a process of understanding how much social change occurred and can be attributed to an organisation’s activities.

For the last nine years, we at Alive and Kicking Zambia, have considered ourselves successful in the work that we do in inclusive employment, providing ethical employment to people from disadvantaged groups, including persons living with disabilities.

With the increased pressure to tell our story right, it’s becoming more complex to choose what to measure, decide how to measure it, how long to measure and how much to allocate the already scarce resources to measurement of impact.

Potential customers and funders are looking for clear impact that is directly related to our activities.

When we think of the more that 150 people working for Alive and Kicking in Kenya, Zambia and Ghana producing more than 50,000 footballs per year, we look towards the SDGs and ask ourselves the following questions;

  • Does having a job at Alive and Kicking helped to reduce inequalities?
  • Have we reduced poverty?
  • Does working at Alive and Kicking promote good health and wellbeing?
  • Have we provided decent work and economic growth?

According to Stanford Social Innovation Review , “impact evaluations are an important tool for learning about effective solutions to social problems, but they are a good investment only in the right circumstances”

In a 2013 article by Alnoor Ebrahim in the Harvard Business Review  “measuring impact matters but we need to be realistic about the constraints.” 

The article also states that “it requires a level of research expertise, commitment to longitudinal study, and allocation of resources that are typically beyond the capabilities of implementing organizations.”

Impact measurement should not be complicated 

In a mini plenary at (SEWF 2019) titled “Social impact measurement- approaches and frameworks for demonstrating value”, Jonathan Corburn of the Social Enterprise Institute said that impact measurement should not be complicated. He added that once an organisation fully understands its mission, it should find its own method of measuring its impact.

The next steps:

We at Alive and Kicking understand our mission. Why then is it difficult to tell our story right? What is our own way of measuring impact? 

I hope to share our way at the SEWF 2020 in Halifax.

Jane is the Country Director for Alive and Kicking in Zambia, focussing on creating employment for disadvantaged persons including persons living with disabilities.

For the last seven years Jane has led a team that has transformed the social enterprise into a profit-making football manufacturing business that supplies footballs throughout Zambia and to the neighbouring countries.