What are your favorite indicators for measuring the impact of intergroup dialogue?

I'm designing a dialogue program in Cairo and I would like to hear what you think are those indicators that really get to the truth.

My favorite indicator is "how often have you shared a meal with someone from a different religious group this week?"

Thanks people!

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Thank you for your excellent reply.  I really like your example of the use of "us" and "them."

It depends on what the purpose of intergroup dialogue is (what is the desired outcome?). You'll usually want several measurements to fully understand the change that occurred. For example, if the goal is to reduce violence between groups, then the following indicators might be used:

% change from the baseline in violence between Groups A and B (see http://dmeforpeace.org/sites/default/files/CRS_GAIN%20Indicators.pdf page 45).

# of violent incidences between Groups A and B in X time period; disaggregated by location

% of people from Group A who have a positive view of Group B (or some other measure to understand how the groups view each other); disaggregated by location.

Also, be sure to use the appropriate disaggregates for each indicator. While there are common disaggregates, such as gender, location, ethnicity, religion, etc., these will change depending on project goal, objectives, outcomes and indicators. 

My indicators, after having visited 60 countries in the 25 years, working mostly with grass roots movements, facilitating the learning of human rights as a way of life,flies are:

Does the person with whom you dialogue trusts and respects you, simply on a human level.

--does she/he know that you are with him/her regardless of their opinion and fears? Do you really love them because they are human beings or only serving your objectives

-- will they write to you after you leave even just to stay in touch.. ..  

-- will they be willing to bring you to their friends to continue a meaningful  dialogue with them and discuss in trust possible actions?

Will like also to learn  from others . Thank you..

Shula Koenig – pdhre@igc.org

The indicators that would be most useful would be directly related to the objectives of the dialogue project.  The objectives, combined with the theory of change underpinning the project, should be the central point of reference for fashioning indicators.  If the project seeks to "increase mutual understanding" (a vague though common objective), then indicators should try to measure such changes as a direct result of the project.  In this example, a survey may probe specific areas of new knowledge about "the other."  However, if the dialogue has higher level objectives (beyond the impact on individual participants), and seeks, perhaps, to have a positive impact at an inter-group or even societal levels, then a completely different type of indicator would be necessary: one that was able to measure changes in behaviour (not just changes in understanding or attitude) at inter-personal and inter-group level.  And, if the desired changed behaviour is wrapped in the cloak of "peacebuilding," then this will need to be fully defined and explained, and then demonstrated as an impact among the groups with whom the project is working.  Again, the trick is to be able to demonstrate the (relatively) direct causal link between the project and the changed behaviour.  At the end of the day, good indicators not only need to be countable, they need to be directly tied to the objectives of the project.  To play devil's advocate: the number of meals shared with someone in a given week may be explained by a broad range of reasons: hunger (such as feeding programmes by faith-based humanitarian NGOs); the gourmet quality of the the meal on offer; the incidental religious differences between restraunteurs in a ecision to dine on Kabaab, Dim Sum, or Haggis.   -- good question.  Good discussion.  Kenneth


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