Queen’s Program Teaches Policy Makers & Development Professionals How to Use Evidence to Measure Impact and Finance Projects

The prevalence of poorly designed or executed policies and projects is no secret to practitioners. From water supply programs that fail to counter waterborne disease, to education programs that have little impact on student success, ineffective projects and policies are a major problem in social programs, public policy, and international development, and a barrier to achieving poverty reduction and sustainable development targets.

The Certified Professional Impact Analyst (CPIA) program at Queen’s University, now in its second year, is a professional program that aims to change that. It consists of three, one-week courses aimed at teaching government, social sector and development practitioners how to define, measure, and evaluate the impact of their projects at all stages of a project’s life cycle. The ultimate goal is helping practitioners design and implement better, more successful interventions.

The program is led by practice-oriented academics and industry leaders, and includes a focus on real world programs and case studies.  

Key to the learning process is learning to define meaningful impact measures. “Often projects are evaluated in terms of the services they deliver. But successfully delivering a service is not the same as having an impact,” says Bahman Kashi, CPIA Program Director, an expert in the economic analysis and financing of international development projects, and an Adjunct Professor at the Queen’s Economics Department. “You can deliver 10 000 bottles of prenatal vitamins, but that does not necessarily mean the people who would benefit the most are taking them, or that you are measurably improving maternal and fetal health”.

An important component of the program is its focus on helping participants understand new financing tools like results-based financing. Such funding  is tied to having a project demonstrably achieve its objectives, and has the promise of ensuring organizations are accountable for their project’s success.

However, often these results are still measured in terms of output and in practice differ little from traditional grants. “One reason results-based financing is still in its infancy is that most organizations don’t really have the skills to measure results and use them for decision making,” says Kashi. “With CPIA, we’re giving participants the tools to quantify, measure and evaluate the impact of projects to ensure they are meeting these bigger goals. These tools are necessary to build the evidence base required to take better advantage of new financing mechanisms.” 

Discover Impact, the first in the CPIA course series, runs from May 13-17, 2019, with the remaining courses occurring in June and August. 

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For more information, contact Jane Kirby, Coordinator.