Join the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition at 10:00 A.M. ET for a one hour webinar, when Sarah Lince of Verité, a nonprofit dedicated to fair labor practices, and moderator Giovanni Dazzo of the U.S. Department of State will discuss a participatory impact evaluation method called the “Most Significant Change” (MSC) technique. MSC involves the collection and analysis of first-person narratives to help determine programmatic impact on participants’ lives, behaviors, and views.
Verité piloted this technique in collaboration with long-time Verité client, Philip Morris International (PMI). In this program PMI seeks to improve labor conditions for workers throughout its agricultural supply chain. This was one of the first applications of the MSC method in the labor space and for measuring impact of a private sector program. The MSC pilot was implemented with the cooperation of two PMI suppliers last year in a small community in Malawi, where tobacco farming is a primary source of income, and PMI’s Agricultural Labor Practices (ALP) program has been implemented intensively for several years. Using the MSC technique, interviews were conducted with farmers and farm workers in the local language (Chichewa) and later translated into English. The participants were asked simply to reflect on the biggest impact – either positive or negative – that the ALP program has had on them. The farms were selected by the suppliers, however no one from the suppliers was present during the interviews, and responses were anonymized to protect the farmers’ and workers’ confidentiality. The narratives generated through the exercise powerfully brought to life impacts of the ALP program in the voices of workers and were shared with PMI executives in order to incorporate worker voices into program strategy and management. While the pilot application of the MSC method collected data from a select and admittedly unrepresentative group of farms, the stories clearly had an impact on bringing executives managing the program closer to the realities of workers, and highlighted that the impact indicators the company had set out to measure impact of the program may not necessarily always be aligned with the key indicators of change discussed by farmers and workers in the stories generated through application of the MSC method. This provided great insight for all involved in implementing the program in Malawi. See more in the Verité newsletter article.
Sarah Lince is a Senior Program Manager for Research and Policy at Verité and a member of the Responsible Recruitment team. She is Project Director for two project funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor: Promoting Safe and Fair Migration from Kenya to the Gulf States and Promoting Workers' Rights in the India-Gulf Migration Corridor. Lince holds a master’s degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics. Prior to joining Verité, she published independent research about informal sector workers’ organizations in Uganda and managed multi-stakeholder NGO projects in East Africa, South Asia, and Central America.
Giovanni Dazzo is an evaluation specialist at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in the Office of Global Programming. His work focuses on the concept of reciprocity in evaluation design, exploring ways in which evaluators can form ethical research relationships with participants by communicating as equals. Dazzo holds a master’s degree in Public Management from SDA Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at the George Mason University.
This webinar series is a project of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition. The team organizer is Oliver Moles, Ph.D.