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Sharing findings

Last edited: January 03, 2012

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Monitoring and evaluation can only be useful if findings are shared in a timely, effective manner with those who will use the information.

Different stakeholders may require different reporting formats: for example, findings from monitoring can be conveyed to the campaign management team in regular meetings, with only short written records of key findings and decisions.

More extensive written reports are important for sharing findings with a wider audience. To build a robust body of knowledge, findings from campaign evaluations should be disseminated widely. Reports should include an executive summary and information on the methodology used, and present main findings in an accessible way (including tables, graphs and examples). More creative formats such as short videos can be a powerful means to share findings from the campaign with a wider audience, e.g. via the campaign website.

Dissemination strategies

Findings from campaign evaluations need to be disseminated widely so as to yield learning benefits for fellow campaigners and future campaigns to end violence against women and girls. A dissemination strategy establishes which types of findings from monitoring and, more commonly, evaluation should be shared with external stakeholders, at what moments of the campaign.

Practical tips

The following questions should be considered when planning for dissemination of evaluation findings:

What will the campaign produce that will be useful to others?

  • Materials (for example training modules, posters, brochures, multi-media products)
  • Data (e.g. in research reports, databases of several different forms, presentations at meetings)
  • Experiences and lessons (both of the issues involved and of the campaign, for example on identifying an appropriate theory of change)
  • Good practices (not the same as experiences – good practices should have been tested and proved to be valuable through appropriate measurement and evaluation)
  • Tools (e.g. checklists, protocols, guidelines, activists’ kits)
  • Resources (bibliographies, contact information especially of those involved in the project, website address)
  • Ideas for transfer, i.e. suggestions for potential adoption and adaptation of the campaign in different contexts, with hints on key aspects to be tested and replicated

Who needs the results you have or can benefit from them?

For example, if your campaign has resulted in a research study on support services for victims of violence in five countries of Southern Europe, then obviously policy makers, NGOs, social services and others not only in those five countries but in other EU countries and indeed in the European institutions, will find them of interest.

There are many possible users of the results of your campaign, for example:

  • Alliance members and other campaign partners
  • Other organizations working on the campaign issue, in your country or other countries
  • Government and multilateral institutions, other policy makers
  • Other members of the target audiences
  • Researchers, university libraries, other relevant institutions such as hospitals or schools
  • Media and others with a general interest in this topic
  • Donors to the campaign

Which of these stakeholders must learn about the campaign results so as to enhance the chances of reaching the campaign goal and the wider vision it is part of (e.g. public decision-makers, women’s groups)? Which stakeholders must the campaign team be accountable to (e.g. campaign management, activists, donors)? Prioritize among potential users of the report, so as to determine the core target audience for your report or reports.

How are the users likely to use the results, and in what form should the results be presented for optimal ease of use?

Design your dissemination strategy in a way that meets the needs of the core audience for your reports. It is not sufficient to post reports on a website – even though it is recommended you post evaluation reports to appropriate knowledge exchange websites such as: the Virtual Knowledge Center to End Violence Against Women and Girls; Siyanda; the Communication Initiative Network and Pambazuka. At the least, reports should be sent to key stakeholders in a targeted manner, via email or post. Organizing an event to disseminate important findings – a meeting with key decision makers, a seminar or a press conference – can enhance the chances findings will be noticed and used.

As a rule, written reports and other presentations should be as crisp and clear as possible (See Research reports). Language may also be an issue – budget for translation if needed. 

Bear in mind: You have to get over the understandable reluctance to share with others things that may have been a challenge to you or even gone wrong. Just remember that every lesson is a useful lesson, even if at the time it seemed very negative.

Dissemination is NOT:

  • Giving people copies of materials and reports and thinking that is enough – because it is written does not mean it will be read; if it is read does not guarantee that it will be understood; if it is understood does not ensure that it will be useful. What you do not control is whether or not your information will ultimately be used by those you wish to see use it
  • Sending copies of materials to associated groups and asking them to distribute them, keeping fingers crossed that they do.
  • Posting something to a website and trusting users to somehow know that it is there.
  • Sending a press release to the media and hoping they do something with it.
  • Printing hundreds of copies of reports and presuming people will come and ask for them.

Finally, do not waste time or resources disseminating materials that are not ready to be used by others, e.g. results of pilot projects that are only very provisional, or materials that have not yet been sufficiently tested. In these cases, you may wish to circulate materials with an explanation of their limits and advising that they are for information only and should not be quoted or used without further testing. In fact, you might wish to include a request for feedback on such ‘provisional’ materials, so that you can develop them further. It might be helpful to disseminate to a very restricted list of ‘testers’.

(Adapted from Planning Dissemination, European Commission Daphne Toolkit)

Additional resources

Guidance: Quality Criteria for Evaluation Reports (UNIFEM, 2009). Available in English.

Guidance Note on Developing an Evaluation Dissemination Strategy (UNIFEM, 2009). Available in English.