The Guide to Excellence in Evidence for Faith Groups is produced collaboratively by diverse religious and faith groups – local, national, and global – who are members of the Evidence Working Group. The Online Guide supports the gathering and sharing of evidence by religious and faith-based organizations. The Guide provides details about their work to alleviate poverty and enhance the wellbeing of their local communities.
This site was created to share our experience and knowledge with companion faith groups and to promote joint learning. We all strive to improve the excellence of the evidence for our work. We recognize we all have much to learn from one other. On the site, you will find reflections on measurement challenges, tools we use to gather information, examples of data collection approaches, and other resources. No one size fits all! Although the examples and tools on the site are tailored to specific communities and programs, some of the materials may be adaptable to your own programs.
In our journeys of learning how to collect and use evidence, we have learned that faith groups have distinctive faith-inspired perspectives on evidence. We want to track basic information that tell us whether and how our programs benefit communities. Also, whether there are distinctive benefits of faith-based work. We do not have all the answers, but we wish to share with you the answers we do have, and the benefits that using evidence can bring to our work.
Please visit the following pages:
- Why should faith groups care about evidence?
What is evidence is and why it is important? You’ll also see videos of religious leaders speaking about why evidence matters.
- How does faith shape our understanding of evidence?
Faith groups have unique perspectives on evidence, based on our various understandings of how God works in our world.
- How can faith groups get started or get better at collecting and using evidence?
Practical guidelines and steps to understanding how to get started or improve work with evidence.
Below are a list of tools and resources that different faith groups have contributed to the Guide. Each example explains how a particular faith group has approached evidence in one aspect of their work. We hope that you will be able to find the examples useful to your own faith group’s learning. We hope these guidelines and examples will jumpstart your process of thinking through measurement and learning from a faith perspective.
Library of Examples
Local URI staff and members of the community use storytelling to collect information from URI’s grassroots groups about their peacebuilding activities and the activities’ impact. Information collection and reflection is usually done through an interview or question and answer format, with notes taken or an audio and video recording. Storytelling is also a collaborative learning tool, which enables grassroots groups and URI as a network to better understand the impact on their communities, and what URI and grassroots Cooperation Circles might do to improve. Storytelling provides meaningful information that can highlight both the strong points and weaknesses of a project, as well as any unintended consequences. Sharing and listening to stories builds bonds of trust and opens doors for relationship, which is essential for creating change.
The Early Childhood Development Program is a volunteer-implemented program that improves the holistic wellbeing of children and their families living in HIV/AIDS prevalent areas. Focus areas include child health, nutrition, and livelihoods strengthening activities for vulnerable families.
The Beneficiary and Service Delivery Indicators (BDSI) is an organization-wide data gathering system created by Catholic Relief Services that provides a standardized way to track services and persons who benefit from the organization’s programs.
The African Christian Health Association (ACHA) family planning programme sought to utilize faith communities to improve contraceptive uptake. The program was in part implemented by increasing information, education, and communication on family planning to religious leaders and by them. This program aimed to create a replicable model for strengthening family planning within Christian Health Association’s (CHA’s) in other sub-Saharan countries.
A simple monthly tool was developed to be used by religious leaders for reporting, and a guide for messaging was developed to be used by religious leaders. In each country, the Ministry of Health (MOH) community referral forms and the MOH family planning cards and registers were used to collect data on referral and uptake of family planning services.
WACC facilitates a Development Initiative Programme under which project partners in countries of the global South carry out one-year-long initiatives that place communication (including traditional media and digital technologies) at the centre of strategies to bring about social change.
The LIGHT Wheel provides a framework to understand change in every aspect of a person or community’s wellbeing – both spiritual and physical. The LIGHT Wheel sets out nine domains – or “spokes” – that holistically represent an individual or community’s ability to live well, flourish and be resilient. The Light Wheel contains a number of data collection tools which help us to measure and assess holistic change. The Wheel takes an assessment beyond direct outputs and outcomes of a particular initiative, programme, project or process to look at the intended and unintended impact. The tools include: a household survey with approximately 15 questions per spoke, a guide to direct observation for enumerators, guidance on how to consider secondary data, and at the centre of the tools is a participatory guide for focus group discussions (where communities score themselves for each spoke based on discussion questions).