Evaluation at a distance with YMCA in Togo


Photo of two girls in braiding another woman's hair

In 2017, Y Care International and YMCA Togo launched a project called ‘Inspiring the new generation of entrepreneurs in Togo’. The project aims to contribute to improve the living conditions of vulnerable youth in three slums of Lomé, namely Katanga, Gbétsogbé and Tokoin-Elavagnon. The project focuses on economic resilience, participation in decision-making processes and reduction of risks for catastrophes. The project is financed by the Turing Foundation and the Drittes Millenium Stiftung.

Evaluating in times of COVID 19
After three years and four months, the project officially ended in April 2020. Due to the restrictions because of the corona virus pandemic, the final evaluation had to be done online. Y Care International contacted Sprockler to conduct this evaluation and come up with creative ways to conduct an evaluation at a distance.

The tricky part of this evaluation was that nobody was able to travel in order to protect the safety of those involved. The consultants were not able to travel, and YMCA Togo staff was not able to visit their beneficiaries. For the final evaluation, phone interviews were thus selected as the best method. Although it is a not much detail as you would get through face-to-face interviews, phone interviews allow participants to share elaborate stories and enable interviewers to ask direct follow-up questions. Additionally, as not all youth had equal access to the Internet or similar levels of literacy, phone interviews provide an accessible means of gathering multiple different stories.

Results
In total, 121 people were interviewed. 81 of those were young women and young men from the three different slums and 40 were other involved stakeholders, such as family members of the youth, community leaders and members, members of the steering committee, representatives of civil society organisations, local administration, apprenticeship providers and staff members and volunteers of YMCA Togo.

The results were many stories about how the project had influenced the lives of the youth in the slums. It included for example that youth thought it was very relevant to combine activities about economic resilience with activities to increase capacity to deal with (environmental) catastrophes, as it ensured more durability of their economic activities. 89% of those interviewed stated that the changes that happened because of the project made them happy. Those interviewed also identified some elements of which they thought they should be kept in next projects and elements which they thought should be changed.

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