Tools for Venezuelan NGOs

Tools for an orientation towards effects and impacts

A project and even an NGO have their justification for the effects and impacts they are trying to generate. The Management and monitoring should focus on results and impacts rather than activities and products. Recognize and analyze how individuals and grassroots groups or organizations take advantage.

the contributions of the project, how they manage to turn them into benefits that mean changes, improvements in their well-being and quality of life and how they make the new opportunities their own, it is necessary to adopt a management towards direct effects and impacts. Therefore, project management must go beyond a planning and monitoring approach primarily aimed at planning and recording the activities carried out, and complement its perspective.
management with instruments to generate specific information on the achievements in and with the target groups.

Table of Contents

There can be no field work without monitoring change. The NGO-IDEAs concept and its Toolbox are designed to guide organizations to find adequate planning and monitoring modalities and procedures with their target groups, which increase their commitment to take advantage of the project’s contributions and thus achieve greater sustainability. . This set of tools will make it possible to link project management and the measurement of indicators with the change objectives set by the groups and people involved.

Tools for self-efficacy and empowerment

NGO-IDEAs challenge to build inclusive monitoring systems that promote the empowerment of all target groups or beneficiaries and that increase the positive effects and impacts of projects, while reducing the negative ones.

NGO-IDEAs is based on two basic assumptions:


The monitoring of the change processes promoted must not only fulfill a function of accountability but also of learning for all those involved, the target groups, the work teams, the leaders of a group and the coordination of the project. The participatory character contains democratic elements that promote a culture of learning that people can assimilate.

Eficacia propia o auto eficiencia

The monitoring aims not only to measure achievements, but to motivate and educate the same groups and individuals about their own ability to achieve change. Tracking results and impacts works best if people are clear and committed to their own goals. If individuals and the community are aware of their own effectiveness, of what they have been able to transform, this will encourage them to implement additional measures.

Useful, practical and simple tools

NGO-IDEAs try to start from the perspective of those involved in order to favor an inductive approach – based on experience – rather than a deductive approach based on theory.

The Toolkit should be useful in the first place for those who apply it, and it is made up of practical, simple and participatory tools.


  • They are useful tools for those looking for practical ways to recognize and visualize the changes promoted by an initiative, a project, a strategy of an organization or an NGO.
  • Simple means: based on the knowledge and practical knowledge of people, therefore easy to understand and apply.
  • Its application should be integrated as part of the normal activities of the project teams, the NGO and its monitoring system. On the other hand, measurements and self-evaluations through the tools of NGO-IDEAs will enrich the normal work of the project with the groups.
  • The NGO-IDEAs assumption is that monitoring of effects and impacts does not mean additional work but rather different work, which is more systematic and thoughtful. However, documenting this type of work definitely requires additional work.

1.2 Monitoring and participation in the framework of NGO-IDEAs

Monitoring means for an organization systematic and periodic observation and reflection in order to implement its contributions or those of the project, verifying scope to adapt activities, products and services to changing circumstances.


The monitoring of the change processes promoted must not only fulfill a function of accountability but also of learning for all those involved, the target groups, the work teams, the leaders of a group and the coordination of the project. The participatory character contains democratic elements that promote a culture of learning that people can assimilate.


  • It requires instruments to generate, analyze information and observe the changes generated.
  • It reinforces the capacities of joint reflection and learning in the actors and organizations.
  • Focus on changes that are important and relevant to the people and groups involved.
  • It analyzes what changes are caused by the project, making it possible to determine how and to what extent the project has contributed to the observed changes.
  • Manage records and documentation in a systematic way. It leads to management decisions, if necessary.

The NGO-IDEAs are based on the vision that a participatory approach enriches the monitoring system with a balance in its functions of responsibility, learning and empowerment. Participation promotes the integration of the grassroots perspective in the Logical Framework and the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation System (PME) of the organization, generating more and more autonomy. Instruments for aggregating and analyzing information about change also provide the opportunity for a more intense dialogue between stakeholders.


Continuous reflection on actions is an integral part of regular work in all sectors. Therefore, this toolkit aims to promote the monitoring of results and impacts from the perspective of grassroots and target groups. NGOIDEAs seeks to contribute with the NGOs to establish a follow-up that corresponds both to the needs of the project teams and their coordination, as well as to the needs of the groups, individuals and beneficiaries that participate in their implementation.

Giving up accountability is a responsibility for both them and donors and should be developed in a spirit of learning and collaboration. This means for the NGO, on the one hand, finding a balance between the desire to fully understand and measure the effects and, on the other hand, the practical need to select and prioritize the areas to be monitored according to their usefulness for the actors. and limitations. of available resources The results chain is a way of expressing a project’s theory of change.

When not limited to just the Logical Framework planning perspective, it can also be developed from practical experiences, so that the emergence of impacts can be reconstructed from the bottom up. Desired and actual results and impacts can be identified as starting points, depending on the local situation and needs. A theory of change or a chain of results can be established based on this practical experience with target individuals and groups.

NGO – IDEA aims to create inclusive monitoring systems that promote the empowerment of all stakeholders with a participatory monitoring approach designed for self-improvement and effectiveness. It focuses on the transformations that are being achieved and not primarily on the activities that are being carried out.

The NGO-IDEAs participatory approach guides a monitoring system in different dimensions, including:

  • Formulate individual objectives of men and women, families and groups with the self-assessment of their situation and the levels of their progress.
  • Analyze social and gender differences and raise awareness to promote equity and reduce discrimination.
  • Incorporate the priorities of the people and groups to whom the project is directed into the project strategies.
  • Raise awareness about the motivation of the participating individuals and groups to implement the project
  • Strengthen the autonomy of people and grassroots groups and maintain dialogue between people.
  • Identify simple indicators by the actors themselves, that people and groups can monitor based on their own established objectives and in part interpret them as effects of their own action.

Participation is a continuous learning process. When applying the tools, it can be difficult for a group to establish their vision for change for the future if they have rarely had the opportunity to make decisions. It can be complex, for example, for some women, to identify their individual goals if in their daily lives they have been conditioned to think of others, to serve others, instead of perceiving themselves as a person with their own horizons. Participation encourages you to advance your own knowledge, to assume different attitudes. Participation opens minds, mobilizes capacities to take on their own challenges and self-assess the steps towards their achievements. Therefore, facilitating NGO teams requires a lot of awareness and skills to guide and lead these group processes with deep reflection.

The four main tools of the NGO-IDEA

In managing the tools, the NGOs and their teams assume the role of facilitators, that is, the teams must have the knowledge, skills and materials for facilitation. Therefore, NGO-IDEAs train NGO facilitators to apply and manage the tools according to the context of their project. The Toolkit manual is an additional aid to guide facilitators, your NGO and your groups.

The power of tools is to reveal people’s own perspectives. With its analysis, joint visions are discovered and ordered that motivate and empower to make decisions that give directionality, to meet the objectives that the same people or groups have set for themselves. The power of the facilitators is expressed in the control of the quality of the process, in the documentation capacity, in the adequate handling of the analysis of the results, in the use of the information for the management of the project and in the joint work. . The Toolkit is understood as a contribution to the professionalization of NGOs, their teams and the scope of the new standards for participatory, inclusive and sustainable development.

They are four basic tools that combine and complement each other, linking and comparing perspectives, in addition to articulating individuals and people in their current, past and future situations. They focus on the joint establishment of objectives, their respective follow-up with periodic measurements and their analysis. In the provision of each tool, the preparation times, the application itself, the systematization of its results and the documentation are taken into account. The same groups carry out the first follow-up steps using ADIB, CI and CC, including estimates (measurements), validation, analysis and reflection on the results.


Análisis Diferenciado del Bienestar (ADIB)

It is the tool that places the NGO in the context of the dimensions of well-being and poverty. Its application makes it possible to discover the dimensions of well-being, exclusion and poverty from the perspective of the same people and its analysis makes it easier to recognize the differentiated needs of individuals. The ADIB, as a comparative analysis of the current situation, can be applied as the first tool in the sequence of NGO-IDEAs, just as the basis for launching the discussion around joint visions and objectives for change. The ADIB also documents the initial situation of a group and its context; this information can be part of the baseline.

Change Collective (DC)

With the Collective Change (CC) instrument, the group sets its joint vision and the objectives it wishes to achieve for the benefit of the group, which can be complemented by the objectives of the individuals. Group objectives are the responsibility of the group as a whole and the group establishes its current level by comparing its progress in periodic monitoring

Change Individual (CI)

With the Individual Change (CI) instrument, the people who make up a group identify their visions and develop a joint horizon to agree on objectives that each one assumes as a commitment «I am going to achieve …», «I am committed to …» In this way each one can make a real and challenging commitment about what a difference in their life and behavior should be in two or three years. Determination and consensus on these individual goals mean work sessions rich in reflection and introspection, in self-questioning and joint discovery. From the vision of change, each person, adult, youth or child can gradually gain clarity about their own needs and potentials. Individual Change is established as the responsibility and commitment of each one, their gradual individual progress towards its fulfillment is periodically monitored together. Each person starts from her specific level with respect to the IQs and sets her own goal..

Analysis and Reflection on Changes (ARCO)

The Analysis and Reflection on Changes (ARCO) is based on the
The information generated and the results of the application of the ADIB, CI and CC, relate these tools and the interpretation of their meaning with the indicators of the Logical Framework and the promotion and contribution strategy. The causes and factors that have contributed, directly and indirectly, to the observed changes are analyzed; likewise, the factors that hinder the changes. ARCO allows the NGO a deep and transparent analysis for decision making and adjustments. ARCO can also be managed by a grassroots organization with a formalized structure and an installed management capacity; for example, by the board of directors of an association. ARCO can be the tool for the grassroots organization to strengthen itself in the implementation of its own monitoring system and provides guidance on how to consolidate, document, analyze and discuss the results of the monitoring of many groups and also any monitoring indicator ..

Table Nº 1. Summary of the four tools

ADIB. Conditions for the introduction of NGO-IDEAs

Measurement purposes 1

Analysis of the criteria and differences of well-being and poverty of households and / or people who live in a community or who are part of a group

Topics and links with project management instrument 1

It reflects on the perceptions of well-being and / or poverty. The own criteria on well-being that allow to establish different levels of well-being of people and households are valued. It allows identifying the greatest deficiencies, the most vulnerable people and their differences. The information can serve as a baseline.

DC. Change Collective

Measurement purposes 2

The objectives that the group as a whole establishes in consensus for its strengthening, its operation, its contribution to the members and the community for two or three years. It is recorded with goals and levels of reach in a table. It is monitored periodically

Topics and links with project management instrument 2

The group discusses a joint vision of change for the collective. Group objectives should be specified based on the steps and goals to be achieved by the group as a whole. The collective objectives of the group can be formulated as indicators according to their coincidence with the change indicators of the Logical Framework.

CI. Individual Change

Propósitos de medición 3

Objetivos individuales de cambio de comportamiento, actitudes, capacidades durante varios años. Se registran con calificaciones individuales en una tabla.

Topics and links with project management instrument 3

The group discusses a vision of where they want to find themselves in approximately three to five years. Individual change goals are set. The levels of achievement of individual objectives are measured periodically. Individual goals can be turned into indicators.

ARC. Analysis and Reflection on Changes

Measurement purposes 4

In-depth analysis of the direct effects and impacts generated by an initiative and organization over a certain period of time. Basis for management decisions and project performance.

Topics and links with project management instrument 4

The NGO lists the data and results of the application of the other tools and the different measurements and groups.

For the purposes of learning the application of the tools, it is suggested to use them in the same sequence in which they are presented in this document. Subsequently, the order or type of tool and its combination depends on the project strategy and the purpose of its monitoring. The Toolbox does not describe the complete process of situational analysis and project planning that is normally carried out before starting a project, but it can provide some useful ideas in this regard. More specifically, it will help to identify the objectives and indicators foreseen for the beneficiaries, which the participants themselves can monitor; both can be easily combined with project plans from the Logical Framework. In summary, proven organizational practices can be combined with the Toolbox application.

Key features and benefits of the NGO-IDEAs Toolbox

  • The Toolbox offers the combination of four tools that are linked to each other. They form a methodological whole, but also, if necessary, can be applied individually to reduce complexity.
  • The Toolkit is based on a participatory approach in which the NGO acts as a facilitator. The NGO must have some experience in handling qualitative and quantitative data. The NGO can apply these tools with grassroots organizations and gradually hand them over to them for their independent use including the facilitation itself.
  • The changes that group members can periodically monitor stem primarily from their own individual and collective goals that motivate them to participate in the group very directly and with great ease.
  • This quantified information is combined with exploratory questions that lead to additional qualitative information.
  • The Toolbox allows the measurement of changes in a quantitative way. While in this way data aggregation is facilitated, the monitoring results and their periodic measurements can be easily disaggregated, that is, they can be differentiated if necessary; for example, according to gender, according to poverty categories or other social criteria, depending on the requirements.
  • The monitoring results encourage reflection on how the individual initiative of the people contributed to the change and help to make decisions based on continuous information about the effects and impacts achieved. They can also be used for reporting where this is required.
  • The tools sensitize group members to poverty and social inclusion issues, enable the poorest and most marginalized people to monitor their goals-related achievements and improve their quality of life.

NGO-IDEAs and the opportune moments for the introduction in the project cycle

The beginning of the application of the tools can coincide with the beginning of a project cycle, which will allow you to base your planning on the perspectives of change typical of the communities, groups and individuals. The same tools used for project planning can even guide the NGO in selecting its target groups.

TOOL KIT FOR PARTICIPATORY MONITORING OF EFFECTS AND IMPACTS16 If the NGO and the project have already been working on a strategy for several years, with a group or in an area, and if the project is already in an advanced stage, the NGO and the project The coordination will initiate learning processes with NGO-IDEA to improve their management capacities, specifically from a management oriented to effects and impacts. In other words, it shouldn’t necessarily be a new project. NGO-IDEAs can give you guidelines on how to improve the strategy in a project, group or area where there is already a previous process and an established work dynamic, and describe the effects and impacts that are generated.

The data that is obtained can and should serve to improve the quality of monitoring and data validation. It is the NGO and the groups themselves that finally decide on the usefulness and applicability of the tools and their degree of incorporation into the project or the degree of institutionalization in order to have a monitoring system that corresponds to the challenges of managing towards effects and impacts.

Regardless of when NGO-IDEAs were started, the tools support the design of a monitoring system oriented to effects and impacts because they constitute instruments for the generation of information and analysis that the project needs to measure its effectiveness.

Preparation of the NGO for the incorporation of NGO-IDEAs and their tools.

Analysis of the link and interaction of the project with the group

If there is a Logical Framework, it summarizes, defines and outlines the project strategies in specific thematic and territorial contexts, it also determines the target groups, actors and population that are involved and who will later benefit. The Logical Framework with its results chain and formulated indicators shows what the project intends to achieve and what its planned contributions are or were, as well as the activities and resources to achieve these objectives. Therefore, it is important that the NGO reflect, before starting with NGO-IDEAs, with a certain group about their characteristics, their work trajectory and their role within the current project strategy.

The Logical Framework is linked to the future NGO-IDEAs process. Before starting monitoring processes based on the concept and tools of NGO-IDEAs in a project, the NGO and its facilitators determine with which group or set of people and in which place they want to initiate a process. For this preliminary and internal analysis by the project team, the team reviews its Logical Framework, its annual operating plan, its reports and indicators to be clear about which are the main contributions already planned in the project for the group, as well as which it is the chain of exploitation. From the indicators formulated of effects and Impacts it is possible to specify what are the dimensions of change in people or in the group, either as a function of qualitative changes or in aspects of quantitative scope1.



  • Name, location of the group and number of members.
  • In what indicators and at what level of the Logical Framework is the change and goals specified with the group?

1.4 The principle of self-assessment

The self-assessment of the participants of the group and of the group as a whole runs through all the tools and constitutes a fundamental principle of the participatory approach of NGO IDEAs.

Self-assessment is the basis for the calculation of the levels of well-being, the situation of achievement of individual and group objectives and reflects the seriousness of reflection, understanding and commitment to the agreed objectives.

Self assessment records and demonstrates the extent to which each member, individually or the group as a whole, approaches their own goals and reflects the power assumed over their own actions

At the beginning, this principle can bring problems, especially when people are not used to evaluating themselves, when external control has been the prevailing one or when, as in a school, students are used to evaluations from their teachers. Groups whose members do not know each other well or whose members are in a certain situation of competition with each other, may lack the confidence necessary to make their own situation visible through the assessment scores. Self-assessment is learning for both group members and facilitators, but it may happen that they have another perspective or that they give a different assessment to the person. Self-assessment bases and governs the decisions and preferences of individuals and groups. For this reason, the tools consider, in their application, moments of review of the validity and quality of the data information, as well as the possibilities of collecting or taking advantage of additional information; that is, to cross-check the data of the self-assessment.

The explanation of the modality of self-assessment to the participants is extremely important:

1.5 Conditions for the introduction of NGO-IDEAs

Not all NGOs have an established monitoring system or a manageable system. The experiences with the monitoring of indicators are diverse and sometimes the experiences of generating information and data, for the measurement of indicators and the analysis of the changes and contributions of the project, have been quite complicated.

NGO-IDEAs can mean a number of advantages for the NGO, its management and the quality of its work, but at the same time it requires the NGO to establish and maintain various conditions to make these processes work.

For NGO-IDEAs it is important that the NGO and its teams are motivated and with the full support of their leadership to improve, expand or, in some cases, correct previous experiences. The application of the NGO-IDEAs tools does not only require specific activities of the team in their work with the groups. The conditions for the introduction of NGO-IDEAs are interest, motivation for learning, commitment to participatory work with groups and continuity in the application of tools with periodic measurements.

These conditions must exist in the NGO and its teams so that NGO-IDEAs can make an effective contribution. It is essential to collectively reflect, before starting this new experience, if the NGO can take on working with the NGO-IDEAs Toolbox:

1.6 Pautas para la facilitación de las herramientas de ONG-IDEAs

The application of the tools requires knowledge and skills to facilitate group processes and communication attitudes that favor awareness, exchange, dialogue, learning and decision-making. In the NGO-IDEAs approach, much emphasis is placed on the fact that facilitation is of decisive importance in generating the right conditions for reflective participation.

In the training workshops offered by NGO-IDEAs to NGO facilitators interested in integrating the approach into their work, techniques and skills are tested that favor the facilitator:

For all the tools, the formation of a team of two people is recommended: a facilitator and a specialist (resource person). The specialist is the person who can make observations, presenting his opinion or his proposals to the group. Facilitator and specialist must separate their roles clearly and at the same time, they must complement each other. They divide and complement their roles, and ensure the facilitation of the tools, the methodological preparation before and a team analysis afterwards.

Although initially only two facilitators for each NGO were trained, the application of the tools in project monitoring requires familiarizing a group of technicians in the management, facilitation and analysis of the tools.

Knowledge and practice of facilitation are basic requirements for the application of NGO-IDEAs tools, as well as other types of participatory tools.

NGO tools

“The generating questions are those posed by the facilitating team to open an enriching debate in order to build the criteria or objectives linked to each tool. The wording of the question is very important to generate a discussion open enough to arouse interest, but at the same time focus it on a specific topic, related to the type of tool that is going to be built. «