What information do we need?
To understand how significant an effect is, we try to collect data on how deep it is, how many people it occurs for, how long it lasts for and how quickly it occurs.
In this section, we bring the dimensions to life through examples of how of a number of enterprises work to deliver employment outcomes for young people with different needs in different geographies. The examples are drawn from specific organisations but illustrate useful approaches for any enterprise or investor - big, small, for-profit or non-profit - managing impact across the five dimensions.
Meet Dream a Dream, an enterprise that works with young people across India who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Dream a Dream focuses on empowering young people with the knowledge, attitude and skills they need to promote positive behaviour and deal with the challenges of everyday life more effectively (using a creative life skills approach, based on the World Health Organisation’s ‘Partners in Life Skills’ training).
To understand (who) is experiencing effects, and ensure they reach the most underserved young people in India (with regard to the life skills outcomes), Dream a Dream sets up its centres in close proximity to informal settlements, and targets people in and around these communities through home visits or school/college presentations.
To understand (what) outcomes are experienced, Dream a Dream collects data on the positive and negative outcomes experienced by young people through the programme across five skills areas they understand to be most important and relevant to the goals of the young people. The full list of life skill areas (from the WHO’s Life Skills framework) were narrowed down to five based on their relevance to this group of young people through a testing process with focus groups (which consisted of the disadvantaged young people, local teachers, NGO workers, and volunteers). The five areas identified were: understanding and following instructions, managing conflict, taking initiative, overcoming difficulties and solving problems and interacting with others.
To understand (how much) of the effect is experienced, Dream a Dream developed its own observation-based ‘Dream Life Skills Assessment scale,’ which is standardised, validated and published. The scale provides a framework through which the team can understand the depth of change experienced by each participant, both in terms of how many skills areas are developed, and the degree of change within each skill area. When developing the scale, Dream a Dream created a set of benchmarks by collecting baseline data from over 1,000 disadvantaged children aged 8 to 16 years.
In terms of the breadth of the effect, Dream a Dream engages over 10,000 young people directly every year, referred from over 40 partners. It worked with over 2,200 educators, and 3,000 volunteers, who reached over 75,000 young people over the course of 2013-2016. In order to increase their breadth of change amongst vulnerable young people, Dream a Dream seek to recruit further participants through targeted home, school and college visits.
Dream a Dream monitors the rate of change by tracking its programme ‘graduates’ every three months with phone calls, or through social media channels, to understand whether the young person is moving towards employment outcomes. This has taken place every quarter since 2012. At the end of 2016, 95% of the young people being tracked were either pursuing higher education, in a vocational training program or an internship, or were in employment.
Dream a Dream endeavours to track graduates once a quarter until the age of 23 to gain an understanding of the duration of change. If they are gainfully employed and meaningfully engaged with life at this point, they may decide to stop tracking them.