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Page history last edited by Cristina Lamb Guevara 10 years, 7 months ago


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C L I C K   H E R E   T O   A C C E S S   P I P A ' S   U P D A T E D   W I K I 


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Welcome to the Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis (PIPA) Wiki!


Para español, vaya a Análisis Participativo de Vías de Impacto


Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis (PIPA) is a project planning and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) approach. It is a relatively young and experimental approach that draws from program theory evaluation, social network analysis and research to understand and foster innovation. It is designed to help the people involved in a project, program or organization make explicit their theories of change, in other words how they see themselves achieving their goals and having impact.

A project’s impact pathways describe how the project will develop its research outputs and who outside the project needs to use them to achieve developmental outcomes and impact.  Part of the process of developing impact pathways involves project staff and stakeholders working together to map how knowledge and research products must scale out and scale up in to achieve the project’s development goals. Scaling out is understood as a horizontal spread of knowledge and technology from farmer-to-farmer and from organization to organization within the same stakeholder groups. Scaling up involves building a favorable institutional environment for the emerging change process through such mechanisms as positive word of mouth, organized publicity, political lobbying and policy change. For example, take a project that is piloting a technique in one community. Constructing the project’s impact pathways might involve an extension agency that could encourage broad adoption. Strong positive communication between the project team and the extension agency – even joint implementation – can increase the likelihood that extension agents will make effective use of the technique. Another impact pathway might be for the project to target evidence from a study to influence decision makers in the extension services head office to support the work.

An important feature of impact pathways is that it encourages participants to think beyond the scope of a single project.  The approach is built on the fact that most researchers in research-for-development projects want their research to help bring about development outcomes.  Research rarely ever achieves significant development outcomes in a typical project lifespan of three years. Hence impact pathways encourage researchers to make explicit what good ones do anyway, and think beyond what needs to happen after the end of the project. Impact pathways does not make projects accountable for achieving development outcomes, but they do raise the profile and give legitimacy to ‘brokering’ activities in which project staff actively work to establish the interpersonal and organizational links that will needed for future impact.

PIPA begins with a participatory workshop where stakeholders make explicit their assumptions of how their project will achieve an impact. Participants  construct problem trees, carry out a visioning exercise and draw network maps to help them clarify their ‘impact pathways’. These are then articulated in two logic models. The outcomes logic model describes the project’s medium term objectives in the form of hypotheses: which actors need to change, what are those changes and which strategies are needed to realise these changes. The impact logic model describes how, by helping to achieve the expected outcomes, the project will impact on people’s livelihoods. Participants derive outcome targets and milestones which are regularly revisited and revised as part of project monitoring and evaluation (M&E). PIPA goes beyond logframes and the traditional use of logic models such as those commonly used by the CGIAR System by engaging stakeholders in a structured participatory process, promoting learning and providing a framework for ‘action research’ on processes of change.
Testing of impact hypotheses contained within the outcomes logic model through regular reflection workshops constitutes action research on how to foster developmental outcomes based on the use of research outputs. Our hope is that PIPA will change researchers’ perception of M&E to something they want to do to help them do a better job, and to publish, rather than something they feel they have to do to to be accountable to donor funding their work (not that this isn't very important).
A group of us are working to develop a participatory approach for helping project staff and stakeholders make their impact pathways explicit. We are: Boru Douthwaite, Sophie Alvarez, Malcom Beveridge, Simon Cook, Diana Cordoba, Rick Davies, Pamela George, John Howell, Ronald Mackay, Katherine Tehelen and Graham Thiele.
Since 2009 PIPA has been a major influence on the design of the M&E system of the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food.  Check out the CPWF M&E Guide







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