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How do we know that we are making a difference ?

Like many other humanitarian agencies we are collectively concerned with this question. Although the question has by no means been answered satisfactorily, each initiative has its own means of tracking its performance and impact. As mentioned above, ALNAP closely monitors the quality of evaluations through a quality proforma and also monitors usage of its materials though annual visits to member agencies. In 2004 it was evaluated by DfID, as was People in Aid in ….. HAP runs a modest research programme designed to examine the costs and benefits associated with the practical application of accountability principles. People In Aid provides external verification of the social audit process for agencies working through the Code of Good Practice. An independent evaluation of Sphere was completed in 2003 by Columbia University, USA, in collaboration with Makerere University, Uganda. The focus is now on gathering and compiling evidence – through learning activities and other events - of how and where Sphere has made a difference: ‘Sphere stories’.

Like most humanitarian agencies, each initiative recognises that there is still some way go to be able to give credible answers to what impact they have. Thus, each is involved in studies and debates on how to meet this challenge.