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Online manual

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 9 months ago

Online manual


The PIPA Process:

We have used PIPA at the beginning, middle and end of projects as a way of documenting and learning from the project.


At the heart of PIPA is a participatory workshop in which project implementers and key stakeholders construct project impact pathways. Those who have contributed to a traditional logframe know that completing the required formats is tedious in groups and is often dominated by one or two people. Our experience is that when people are not constrained, at the outset, to fill in logframe boxes, they have tremendous energy for exploring collective ideas about how a project should work, or has worked. Therefore, in the PIPA workshop, participants only attempt to create a logic model once the underlying impact pathways have been discussed and agreed. 


PIPA describes project (or program) impact pathways in two ways: (i) causal chains of activities, outputs and outcomes through which a project is expected to achieve its purpose and goal; and (ii) network maps showing how the actors involved work together, influence each other and influence the general environment for the new knowledge or technology being developed.The workshop process develops the two perspectives in turn and then integrates them through constructing an outcomes logic model.


Click here for a diagram of the PIPA process.


The analysis carried out in constructing the network maps allows the outcomes logic model to more clearly describe the people and organizations who are expected to work together and influence each other to effect the desired change. Traditional logic models, for example logframes, commonly used in the CGIAR system are good at describing causal chains but lack the an actor focus so that they end up containing narrative statements in them without people, for example “rice yields increased by 25% in pilot sites”.


We begin the construction of impact pathways in a two-and-a-half day workshop. See here for a brief description of the workshop objectives, process and deliverables, and here for a poster that describes the Impact Pathways Approach.


When PIPA works best:


PIPA is useful when two or more projects in the same program wish to integrate better. At least two people for each project should attend, preferably the project leader and some else who knows the project and has time and inclination to follow up on what comes out of the workshop. PIPA also works well when one project wishes to build common understanding and commitment with its stakeholders. In this case, two or more representatives from each important stakeholder group should attend. The ideal group size is four to six and the ideal number of groups is three to six. We have facilitated workshops with nine projects developing impact pathways but this leaves little time for individual presentations and plenary, and participants tend to be overwhelmed by too much information.


How to conduct a PIPA workshop:

During the PIPA process each project develops a vision of the development outcomes it wants to contribute to.  Each project will also describe in an 'outcomes logic model' a set of predictions about what changes in stakeholder practice are required to achieve the project vision, and what the project will do to help bring about these changes (i.e., outcomes).  These predictions can then be monitored.  The idea is to compliment rather than replace standard project M&E (which is focused on delivery of project outputs and compliance with what was originally contracted, rather than achieving outcomes).  

PIPA is primarily a learning tool.   PIPA assumes that as R4D researchers the participants are committed to contributing to positive change and want to know whether they  are on track. PIPA assumes that participants already think beyond the scope of individual projects and they champion ideas and research interests across projects.  Hence PIPA will help make explicit and legitimate activities that many of the participants will already be involved in, activities such as forming strategic partnerships or working with partners in a way that gives them ownership of what comes out.


Below are the steps for conducting a PIPA workshop.
  1. Draw a problem tree
  2. Derive project outputs
  3. Create a vision
  4. Draw network maps
  5. Develop an outcomes logic model
  6. Developing an M and E plan


Click here for a link to an example of PIPA worksheets in a single Excel spreadsheet.




The outputs developed during and after a PIPA workshop can be used for ex-ante impact assessment, monitoring and evaluation, laying the foundation for ex-post impact assessment and to produce program level network maps. See here for more information.


We have used the outputs of PIPA workshops to develop two main products – impact narratives and evaluation plans.


Process Use of PIPA:


Carrying out a PIPA workshop is probably worthwhile even if there is no follow up to develop an impact narrative or evaluation plan. We asked participants in the first PIPA workshop in the Volta basin what had been the most significant change resulting from their attendance. The four responses we received were:

- New knowledge from the PIPA workshop led a project member to a methodology for "Influence Network Mapping" which is showing sufficient promise as to make the front page of the CGIAR eNews in June 2007 (see http://www.cgiar.org/enews/june2007/story_04.html ).

- PIPA helped a peri-urban waste water project identify the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Accra Metropolitan Assembly as key stakeholders and the project subsequently lobbied both organizations to change a crucial by-law.

- A third project attributed their success in organizing a capacity building consultation workshop with end users to the clarification of project outputs through constructing a problem tree in the workshop.

- The workshop motivated the projects working in the Volta basin to meet to identify synergies and share impact pathways methodology with colleagues who had not attended the workshop.





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