Are we there yet? A thesis

Last semester two Master students in Industrial Engeneering at Lund University, Christoffer Hansson and Rebecca Palmgren, wrote their thesis aiming to... “develop a framework for constructing performance measurement systems that will help organizations within development aid to reach their long and short term goals”

The two students based their work on Yennenga Progress’ methods. Stina Berge believes findings can help to further develop questionnaires and surveys in order to continuously assess results. Measuring should not just end with a final report but enable adjustments during the process.

“The aid sector is characterized by complex stakeholder structures, including volunteers, offshore partners and donors that all affect the measuring of performance. This increases the risk of performance measurement resulting in burdens instead of benefits, as the measurement focuses too much on satisfying other stakeholders than the aid recipients”.

Or to put it more bluntly: When efforts are measured and results evaluated, even the most well meaning organisations easily forget why they exist. The relevant effects of their inputs tend to drown in Monitoring & Evaluation systems and New Public Management clichés.

– It is crucial for us to find out how the beneficiaries value and describe changes. The real people on site. How do they experience developments? how is their everyday life improving? says Secretary General Stina Berge.

– And to really see this, one cannot just evaluate when a project is closed, aiming at a positive picture to forward to the donors back home. You must have a sustainable ongoing system for “performance measurement”.

The quote above is part of this ambition. It comes from a master thesis in Industrial Engineering and Management at the Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, called

"Are we there yet? Constructing performance measurement systems within development aid organization."

The two students, Christoffer Hansson and Rebecca Palmgren, ventured deep into the topic, following three main queries:

  1. What characterizes performance measurement within development aid?
  2. How should a performance measurement system be developed in order to satisfy the interests of an organization within development aid?
  3. Is it possible to develop a standardized and usable framework for constructing a performance measurement system suitable for development aid to reach their long and short-term goals”.

– Their suggestions are relevant not only in Nakamtenga. Other projects, based on the same philosophy, should benefit from the thesis.

Which, by the way, was approved of, Christoffer and Rebecca got their Master degrees and have found employment. Congratulations and well done! You can read the full thesis and their conclusions here.