PRISM, a new evaluation toolkit, has been launched to help conservation practitioners improve the way they evaluate the outcomes and impacts of conservation projects.
PRISM has been developed by a collaboration of international conservation organisations with additional input from practitioners, academics and donors from across the conservation sector. The PRISM project (Practical Impact Assessment Methods for Small and Medium-sized Conservation Projects) was initially funded by the CCI Collaborative Fund, and involves BirdLife International, British Trust for Ornithology, Conservation Evidence, Fauna & Flora International, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Tropical Biology Association, UNEP-WCMC, University of Cambridge and WWF International.
While most projects collect data to measure delivery of actions and outputs (what the project has done); they do not always effectively evaluate the outcomes and impacts of these actions (the short, medium and long-term changes brought about by the project).
This toolkit provides practical approaches and methods to help practitioners look at the changes (positive and negative) resulting from the project, in a way that promotes learning and sharing of evidence, while still remaining within the capacity and resource limits of the project team.
This toolkit has been designed primarily for use by practitioners carrying out small/medium-sized conservation projects and those who work to support such projects.
Iain Dickson, Impact Evaluation Officer at BirdLife International, says “Small/medium-sized projects make up a key component of the work of many conservation organisations and it is crucial that we understand the difference these projects are making. PRISM aims to bring together experience from across the conservation sector to provide practical methods and guidance to help such projects effectively evaluate their work, learn from experience and communicate their results and learning to others working in conservation.”
The toolkit provides a basic overview of the theory behind evaluation relevant to small/medium-sized conservation projects before guiding users through a simple, step by step process for evaluating project outcomes and impacts.
To date the toolkit has been piloted with projects in Kenya, Indonesia, Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. The next phase of the project will focus on training and the development of supplementary materials to sit alongside the toolkit.
As well as the CCI Collaborative Fund, financial support for PRISM has been received from ESRC-IAA, Jensen Foundation and Toyota.
The toolkit is available as a free download from www.conservationevaluation.org