Advocacy is crucial to bring about societal changes. Many civil society organisations engage in advocacy to address development issues like food security, disaster risk reduction or land rights. These organisations are accountable to donors and constituents, and dependent on their support. However, problems in current methodology hamper an understanding of the true nature and meaning of advocacy achievements and challenges.
Basic problems are: (1) a focus on results that in themselves provide little insight about their meaning or the quality of efforts and (2) unrealistic assumptions about availability and usefulness of objective evidence.
Narrative Assessment is a new monitoring & evaluation (M&E) methodology that unpacks the dynamics and contribution of advocacy, inspiring learning and supporting communication.
WUR (Margit van Wessel) and international development organisation Hivos (Wenny Ho) are developing Narrative Assessment in partnership.
Narrative Assessment is a methodology for co-creation and critical examination of stories about advocacy processes, achievements and challenges. It will be geared to practices and needs of stakeholders, including advocates, M&E and communications professionals and donors.
A premise of Narrative Assessment is that, when carefully developed and critically and systematically examined, advocates’ accounts of what happened are highly valuable in many ways. Capitalizing on these stories will support co-creation of advocacy knowledge and will enable collective sense-making of how achievements and challenges are to be appreciated and understood. Narrative Assessment can help advocates, their organizations and donors to make sense of advocacy in a meaningful way – to learn, organize stakeholders, be accountable, and mobilize support.
Presently, Narrative Assesment is being piloted. We hope to launch this methodology officially in the course of 2018.