The people we work with are at the heart of our work, and their stories and feedback sit alongside vital programme data to help us monitor, evaluate and adapt projects, to get the best outcomes and ultimately improve lives.
Data helps us understand and demonstrate impact, both positive and negative. When designing a programme, we set the outcome indicators that we want to track. For example, we tracked the number of visits made to antenatal clinic appointments during pregnancy, because we know that is key to improving maternal and newborn health (MNH).
We’re interested in how these indicators change over time, so we use Business Intelligence software to thoroughly verify and evaluate our data. The data can then be used to adapt and improve programmes, and inform future projects. We can also carry out a cost-benefit analysis, to compare the value of investing in different programmes.
As a result of this programme, there have been great improvements in the lives of people in Karonga District and substantial improvements have been made in MNH.
There has been an increase in the number of women completing the World Health Organization recommended 4 Antenatal care (ANC) visits.
In addition, there were more births attended by skilled health personnel and an increased number of men and women of childbearing age who demonstrated knowledge, improved attitudes and practices of MNH issues.
There were also more women and men demonstrating knowledge and positive attitudes in addressing harmful traditional practices such as early marriages and the use of unskilled traditional birth attendants.
However, despite these benefits there are elements that have not improved such as the low knowledge levels for both men and women about the minimum legal age of marriage.
Such shortfalls offer an opportunity to draw some lessons for improvement and replication or scaling up in other areas of the country. The evaluation has therefore recommended that there is a need for a follow-on project to build on the successes and also to improve on identified areas of weakness.
Below you can explore how the results changed across all of this data, from the Start to the End of the project, based upon the survey questions. Also, you can filter by community using highlighted areas of the map to see how the data varied by community and see how answers from men differed from those of women. You can also scroll through the pages to see how individual data elements changed over the life of the project.
If using a mobile, click on the full-screen option.
Inevitably when working with such complex projects, not everything always go according to plan so some of the data about early marriage actually shows an apparent worsening of the situation. However, upon investigation, we identified issues with the way the questions were asked at the start and end of the project and also discovered a lack of understanding about the legal age for getting married. We believe without these, we would have seen a more positive result and when designing the next project, we will take such issues into consideration and adapt our processes accordingly.
Read more about our maternal and neonatal health programme in Malawi.