The indicator “number of farmers trained“ does not distinguish between farmers who took part in a two-hour workshop and farmers who participated in a year-long training programme.
Photo: Jörg Böthling

27.03.2018

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Standard indicators can be characterised by uniform definition, data collection methods and interpretation. They produce data that can be aggregated (and compared) across interventions, countries or regions, for example. Standard indicators can be distinguished from “custom indicators”, which are formulated to describe specific phenomena or to measure certain changes under unique conditions.

Standard indicators can be characterised by uniform definition, data collection methods and interpretation. They produce data that can be aggregated (and compared) across interventions, countries or regions, for example. Standard indicators can be distinguished from “custom indicators”, which are formulated to describe specific phenomena or to measure certain changes under unique conditions.

Standard indicators can be formulated at different levels of the results chain. Examples are:

  • Output: Number of farmers trained
  • Short-term outcome: Land under improved management practices
  • Medium-term outcome or impact: Individual Dietary Diversity Score

Opportunities

Standard indicators are used for three main purposes:

  1. To align projects towards common goals (planning tool): standard indicators are usually chosen to represent donor priorities. Through mandatory standard indicators, donors aim to ensure that supported projects focus on strategic goals.
  2. To compare results across projects (management tool): by using the same standard indicators across projects, donors aim to assess projects’ value for money.
  3. To report on results (accountability and public relations tool): standard indicators provide a snapshot of aggregate results achieved across countries and interventions.

Challenges

Unambiguous definitions as well as clear guidelines on data collection methods and instruments are important to ensure that results are comparable and aggregatable.

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