At the Clinton Foundation, we believe that there’s always a way to be faster, leaner, and better; and we use data to measure and accelerate our progress. These guiding principles are at the center of everything that we do—across all of our programs around the world. For the Clinton Development Initiative (CDI), being faster, leaner, and better means monitoring and evaluating our work with smallholder farmers to assess what works, what doesn’t, and how we can improve results. First, we track our output—recording the number of trainings held, the amount of crops produced, or attendance at our community field days. Then, we analyze how this output has had an impact on people’s lives—measuring increases in productivity and profitability, access to markets and services, and improvements in food security, health, education, and sanitation and hygiene.
Our Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) work isn’t just a reflection of the standards we hold ourselves accountable to; it is also a tool we use to build a cycle of learning and engagement among our beneficiaries. As Malawi M&E Manager Lameck Gondwe says, “Our beneficiaries need feedback on the information they share with us.” We want to create a dynamic, two-way line of communication with our farmers as we are continually assessing our work and our impact.
None of this analysis and insight can occur without the right data. The data we collect from our farmers need to be accurate, complete, and meaningful. So instead of relying on imperfect paper-and-pen data collection, CDI utilizes a mobile technology and web-based platform called Farmforce to streamline the process of collecting and storing data.