We measure our impact in three key ways:
Quantitative Data - We measure increase in leadership capacity through pre- and post- surveys, as well as subsequent rigorous follow-ups with participants for one year after each partnership.
Qualitative data - We consistently evaluate our content, style, and team directly from our participants and partners.
Human-Centered Design - We actively seek input and feedback from participants and clients when designing new programs, including our Participant Advisory Council and Rwandan Advisory Board.
To date, we have worked with 50 partners in East Africa and we have trained 5,000 participants.
We’ve always tested our impact in a variety of ways, using input from advisors and best-practice knowledge. However, in order to rigorously measure the impact of our work, we began a year-long randomized control trial in 2016 with researchers from UC Berkeley, which has produced fantastic results. Read the full report here.
In our 2017 end-of-year survey of participants, we have seen:
38% have started businesses
45% have taken on a leadership role
24% have gotten a new job, promotion, or academic opportunity
What We Have Learned
Measuring our Work is Hard
We learned that, although deeply important, measuring self-confidence and leadership is not straightforward. There are many qualitative and quantitative indicators that we have tested, and we have come up against many that don’t work. However, we have remained committed to finding an accurate way to measure our impact. We have come a long way in our approach to how to think about and measure personal transformation – and we’re still learning.
Impact is our Ultimate Goal
In 2016 we debated at length whether to become solely a non-profit or solely a business and there are credible reasons to both organizational models. Through this debate, we came to the conclusion that we are an impact-driven organization at our core. In order to reach the underserved women and girls that will benefit most from our trainings, we realized we shouldn’t sacrifice impact for financial sustainability, or vice versa. Thus, we have kept our blended revenue model and hybrid organizational structure to maximize both sustainability and impact.
It’s Important to Ask for Help
We are a small and ambitious team and we have learned the hard way that we can’t do everything by ourselves. We’ve learned to identify when it is time to ask for help and guidance from our clients, funders, partners, participants, and advisors. This is something we continually remind ourselves of through the incorporation of Human-Centered Design processes into our work. We have institutionalized a process where we must look for answers through asking others, rather than trying to come to conclusions on our own.