For each level in the results chain (outputs – effects – impact), indicators have to be found. ‘Indicators’ does not necessarily equal ‘hard numbers’. However for RBM it is important to find indicators that are clear, concise and not up for interpretation. It’s a good idea to list as many indicators as you can to start with, and then select the most pertinent ones. You want these indicators to be:

  • Valid: this means that the indicator measures the result
  • Sensitive: when the result changes, does the indicator change with it?
  • Reliable: does the indicator give the same value over time or when observed by different observers?
  • Simple: how difficult is it to gather data and to process it?
  • Usable: can we use that information to take decisions and to learn?
  • Affordable: do we have the resources to gather the information?

Finding indicators is again a participatory exercise. At the very least people have to be able to be feedback to the indicators you suggest. It’s a good idea to test your draft list of indicators in real-world conditions.

Outreach indicators

Apart from the ‘classic’ output, effect and impact indicators, RBM also uses outreach indicators. Outreach indicators say something about the people that you reach. Very often, project indicators only talk about things like production, quality improvement, availability of services, training and capacities, etc. The human dimension – in other words the very reason for doing a development project in the first place – is totally left out.

RBM pushes you to reflect about outreach on all three levels of the results chain. The higher up the chain, the more difficult it becomes to accurately assess how many people the project will reach. Here are some questions to help you identify the outreach:

  • Who are the direct and indirect beneficiaries at each level of the results chain?
  • How many people will (ultimately) benefit from the project? How many men and how many women will benefit? What age groups will benefit? How many people from rural or urban areas will be involved?
  • What are the main characteristics of these people? What is their social, economic, cultural… situation. What is their health situation? How well are they educated? Are their rights respected? Do they live in fear of violence or conflict? And so on…
  • What will the project do for these groups? What will the positive and negative results be?


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