Tiny Tools: Measuring Change in Communities and Groups
Why “Tiny Tools” for assessing change? Currently, change is mostly assessed by NGO staff or external experts. The vision of this paper is that communities assess and reflect change themselves and make use of that reflection. All the tools are structured and systematic, and they are all widely tested: Experience shows that these tools lead to new insights, mobilise enthu-siasm and increase the capacity of com-munities to bring about further change. The Tiny Tools therefore are in line with what PRA wanted to achieve. Many are slight variations of PRA tools.
We know that the time of community members is precious, and limited. Therefore all Tiny Tools can be performed in a relatively short time, provided facilitators (it could be field staff or project officers) are ex-perienced – and the community knows and trusts them. The amount of time spent on the application of the tools may however be prolonged according to the needs of a community or NGO. None of these tools is dif-ficult to learn for a facilitator experienced in participatory processes.
Which tool should be introduced to which community? It is typically the decision of an NGO (or external experts) which tools they want to introduce into a community. It is the NGO that needs to assess which tool will lead to learning and action. It could also be that the NGO realises that there are aspects of change that they do not understand well enough. These tools are good to explore change that we have not planned for and not anticipated, or to explore change in a context where we have no prior information. Communities are the best experts for their situation, but we emphasise that the tools should be used in a way that benefits and empowers the com-munities or individuals participating.
All Tiny Tools can be integrated into PIAR, the NGO tool in the Impact Toolbox. Also, the Tiny Tools can help to prepare for the application of the Toolbox tools. They help to make people aware of changes that can be observed. The following box gives some hints how Tiny Tools relate to the Impact Toolbox tools, and to what extent they help to attribute change to development interventions.