VECO Andino and CRS Colombia sat together to exchange learnings with SenseMaker

VECO Andino and CRS Colombia sat together to exchange learnings with SenseMaker

in News
Tom Van den Steen
Tom Van den Steen
Programme Advisor Planning, Learning & Accountability

In the week of February 8, 2016, a delegation of VECO Andino and VECO Head Office visited the Borderlands Coffee Programme of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Colombia and Ecuador in Pasto, Colombia. Besides exchanging on both organisation’s value chain interventions with a focus on the export of specialty coffee, the mission’s objective was to discuss the different uses of SenseMaker as part of a planning, learning and accountability system.

Both organisations already have experiences applying the SenseMaker methodology (within VECO as the Inclusive Business Scan) to appreciate stakeholders’ opinions on the inclusiveness of the commercial relations between the producers, producer organisations and the companies that commercialize the produce. A first exchange had already taken place with other organisations experimenting with this methodology in the field of agricultural value chains.

As VECO’s and CRS’s coffee programmes are coming to a close this year, pathways were discussed on how SenseMaker generated data can complement already existing impact measurement methods. Based on good practice for the use of mixed methods for impact evaluations (Giel Ton, 2015), the programmes’ theories of change were used as the basis to identify which pathways were to be covered by more traditional qualitative and quantitative methods and where “black holes” still existed in terms of understanding the effectiveness of the programme intervention strategies.

Following the mapping of these blind spots of analysis, the VECO and CRS teams carried out a compatibility test to establish the potential of SenseMaker to complement more traditional evaluation methodologies. From a library of “signifiers” (i.e. SenseMaker questions in the form of triads, dyads and stones) touching different aspects of inclusive value chain interventions, a set of 18 questions were identified and elaborated.

The respondents’ self-interpreted experiences will then provide the necessary data from which to abduct the effectiveness of the programme's intervention strategies. A deeper understanding thereof will not only serve to triangulate the other impact measurement data, it will also outline high potential intervention areas for the next programmes.

This fructiferous exchange shall continue over the coming months as the impact measurements will take place. A follow-up of the results and the added value of SenseMaker is foreseen to take place in the city of Quito in May 2016.

So keep tuned for more news!