Welcome to the SMIP Electronic Resource Information & Learning Center (ERIL) on managing for impact!

New! Download the SMIP brochure on managing for impact here

Developing a "rich picture" in Lesotho

Drawing a rich picture in Lesotho

In the development world today, there are a multitude of methodologies, approaches and tools available for individuals and  organizations that seek to bring about a positive change through development. The internet has brought to our fingertips hundreds of guidelines and information ranging from participatory and empowering approaches to evidence based and expert driven approaches. The challenge, therefore, often lies not so much in the access to and availability of information but choosing which of this information to use and when. In doing so, we need to consider questions such as; “Who and what influences this choice?”

Managing for impact is a guiding framework that identifies and assists development workers to engage with multiple layers and factors that affect their work and the people they work with. The framework emphasizes the interdependence of these different layers while at the same time seeking to provide knowledge and practical information on each of them.

Managing for impact involves using appropriate methods, approaches and/or tools to undertake  four interlinking core areas of action:

  • Strategic Guidance: Ensuring that the strategic design of a development initiative is based on an in-depth understanding of the particular situation and that theories on how change happens are well defined and articulated. Strategic guidance also involves being able to understand the dynamics and changes occurring within and outside of the intervention over time and being able to adapt and react quickly to change the strategy when necessary;
  • Ensuring effective operations: This is about managing the day-to-day operations, such as financial, physical and human resources;
  • Creating a learning environment: Establishing a culture of learning and set of relationships that build trust, stimulate critical questioning and innovation and gain commitment and ownership; and
  • Establishing a sound M&E system: Putting in place systems to regularly gather and process the information needed to guide the strategy, ensure effective operations and encourage learning.

In managing for impact, we recognize that any one of these four areas alone is not sufficient and each one supports the other. For example, the design of an effective monitoring and evaluation system is highly dependent on the strategic design of any initiative and vice versa. Similarly, if monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities are not generating the right information, M&E will not be useful to inform strategic or operational decision making.

Clove farmers in Pemba Island, Tanzania

Clove farmers in Pemba Island, Tanzania

Not unlike Results Based Management (RBM), Managing for Impact is about bringing about positive change and directing all efforts towards outcomes and impacts; and using appropriate approaches and methods for different circumsances. However, it is also involves placing equal emphasis on “people processes“, such as culture, power relations and dynamics, and value systems.

SMIP (Strengthening Management for Impact) is an IFAD funded regional capacity building programme working with pro-poor initiatives in eastern & southern Africa to build capacities to better manage towards impact. It does so through training courses for individuals, technical support to projects & programmes, generating knowledge, providing opportunities for on-the-job-training, and policy dialogue.

SMIP is being implemented through a partnership between Wageningen International, and two Sub-Regional Institutions (SRIs), one responsible for the eastern Africa region and one for the southern Africa region. In eastern Africa, the SRI is a consortium involving the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Haramaya University. In southern Africa, the SRI is Khanya-aicdd. SMIP is also collaborating with Impact Alliance, a global network comprising an international community of practictioners (individuals and organizations) involved in capacity building.

This blog – is a space for all interested in managing for impact to share experiences, reflections, relevant literature and even video’s or ask questions. The blog will also contain information on forthcoming SMIP events as well as other relevant events in the region.

SMIP is working hard to strengthen the culture of sharing knowledge & experience amongst pro-poor initiatives, particularly in Africa. So we do hope you’ll join us here!The principle behind this space is creativity and openness. To enable this, let’s simply talk! There’s no need to grapple or struggle over how best to say something – simply share your thoughts as you would in a face to face reflection session!

For questions/comments on this blog, SMIP or managing for impact contact:

Wageningen International: Simone van Vugt (simone.vanvugt@wur.nl) OR Mine Pabari – (mine.pabar@wur.nl)

Khanya-aicdd: Thevan Naidoo (thevan@khanya-aicdd.org)

IFPRI/Haramaya University: Elias Zerfu (E.Zerfu@CGIAR.ORG)

Do enjoy the open space!


4 Responses to “About SMIP & MfI”

  1. Olanipekun Oluwasola Says:

    Hi Mine,I will like to join.
    I am having an M&E training for our partners on the project we discussed in Wageningen on indicators,bt I want it go go beyound indicators to include MfI,is there any way you could help me out with some inputs.
    Thanks and have a good day

  2. mpabari Says:

    Hi Oluwasola!

    Perhaps it would be good to start from “how stakeholder information needs are identified” – introducing the notion that different stakeholders have different information needs; and then go on to the idea of using performance questions (also have a look at the performance questions post). You should have all the material from the PPM&E course on stakeholder information needs & performance questions to help you?
    Warm regards,

  3. Alex Says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  4. nyalukolo Says:

    A team of smippers have just spent a week long brain exercise visioning on the way forward for MfI!! Details at 11!

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