Alternative perspective to measure community development
To see if a project achieves its goals stated in project proposal is not the only way to examine its consequences. Alternative measures that are reasonable and acceptable to the minds of people exclusive to project can be applied as practitioners incorporate sets of knowledge academically recognized and experience learned in the course of project implementation.
In practice of income generation activity aimed at increasing the income of each participant by 50% in Ethiopia, for example, it proves difficult to get the measure to see its effect. It seems to be common in community development especially where people are illiterate and have little sense of scientific research being not used to have a measured life. As a result, it is not only hard to conduct a survey properly, but also acquire an accurate result.
In this respect, keen observation and creative approach should be taken. Projects should be able to develop and adopt effective means of monitoring and evaluation that fit the context of livelihood of people the projects are designed for. This requires practitioners to apply a perspective, with a faith that regional development must cover all aspects of life of people, that elements of what defines progress of humanity such as clean water, electricity, road, income, health, education are all in fact interdependent.
Although a project may have been designed for achieving income generation, for example, whether it brings about a result expected originally can be measured by looking at changes that had occurred to living conditions of beneficiaries. For instance, increase or create of income can be assumed if a project have children of target community go through medical check up for hygiene and sanitation, and it reveals improvement on their heath.
Moreover, the effectiveness can be valid by measuring the state of nutrition and physical growth since a project has been initiated. If the number of students enrolled in primary school has increased after a project began, it should also be interpreted as the result of economic progress is translated into the will of people for education of their children.
What is important is to try to connect practitioners with different skills and knowledge among themselves and see how a project produces positive influences when seemingly unrelated factors interact each other creating a whole new opportunity. To make it short, this requires ones to be diligent in being curious about people and their lives and ultimately determined in putting ideas into practice with the hope of better community development.