Integral to the mission of the Freedom Fund is the commitment and investment to know and understand what works. We therefore place emphasis on research and aim to conduct rigorous monitoring and evaluation. This allows us to constantly improve our programs, as well as those of other anti-slavery organisations, contribute to sector learning about what is effective and provide clear accountability to both our donors and program participants.
Monitoring metrics of partner programs
Our work begins with local partners by ensuring that they have a clear change strategy, articulating how the program is designed to achieve its aims. As part of the approved grant proposal, each partner must also have a clear data collection plan and report into a common set of metrics. This data is used to both monitor performance at a local level – and can be aggregated to provide a global picture of results. The metrics cover a number of common areas, including who we are reaching, the outputs we produce and project cost:
Monitoring data is largely collected by the partners themselves although ensuring the quality of monitoring data is the responsibility of the Freedom Fund. We work with partners as part of our capacity building program to ensure accurate data collection.
Qualitative research to assess local partners’ performance
Monitoring data is only one part of the picture and we want to work with our partners to understand how they are performing across a range of areas. We believe there is no substitute for going and talking to people and we spend time talking to our partners and community members to form qualitative assessments. Our qualitative research is designed to be supportive rather than burdensome whilst also providing key insights and learning from the field that can be used and shared.
Organisational capacity assessments
A primary objective of all our hotspot programs is to build the capacity of our local partners. We believe this is the best way to ensure that change on the ground is sustainable. We regularly work with our partners to assess their overall development against a set of indicators. These fall into the broad themes of governance, people, operations and program quality. This in-house assessment is designed to be light-touch and facilitate conversation, allowing both us and the partner to identify priority areas for training and improvement and track progress over time.
Strategic evaluations of our partner interventions
The Freedom Fund regularly works with external academic partners to provide independent and rigorous evaluation of the work of our partners within a particular hotspot. Evaluations are carried out when an intervention delivered by a partner has particular strategic importance due to size or learning potential, and also to advance understanding of some of the most common anti-slavery interventions. This is particularly important when considering model replication, or in relation to scaling up a particular intervention. Evaluations fall broadly into two areas:
Evaluation of our hotspots
It is important to understand not only whether particular interventions are effective, but whether the overall hotspot is successful at achieving its key aims. We commission independent external research agencies, and carry out our own research, to help us explore questions around the efficacy of the hotspot model in general, facilitate exploration of where we may be able to replicate and scale-up successful models and provide important learning to the anti-slavery sector. Evaluations are complex and use mixed methods but typically include:
Where appropriate, evaluations will also examine the extent to which we have strengthened civil society and supported wider systems level efforts including the private sector and advocacy to governments.
In addition, research will provide support to our local partners to develop and refine their change strategies and improve data collection processes.
We have commissioned the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to carry out an evaluation of our hotspot in Ethiopia.
IDS have published two initial reports in December 2015 and February 2016 which discuss the findings from life story analysis and the use of participatory statistics in the Northern India hotspot evaluation.
We worked with Harvard University’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights to examine the socio-economic benefits of eradication of slavery in Uttar Pradesh, India. Further details on the project can be found here and the final report can be found here. A Freedom Fund Evidence Paper about this research can be viewed here.
The Freedom Fund partnered with a team of researchers led by Dr Cathy Zimmerman of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to outline the major evidence gaps in the field of ‘safe migration’. The findings of the formative work were published in February 2016. Further details on the project can be found here.
Each year we will publish highlights of our impact in the annual impact report together with key insights and learning from across all of our hotspots. Our 2015 Annual Impact Report can be viewed here and our 2014 Annual Impact Report can be found here.
Global and movement-building initiatives
Global and movement-building initiatives will be monitored and evaluated on a case by case basis.
We are currently working with the Helen Bamber Foundation to understand the literature on mental health and modern slavery. This includes understanding current knowledge on the scope, nature and impact of modern slavery on mental health and the resulting approaches to treatment. Gaps in the literature will be identified and the report will be available later this year with recommendations for future research. Further details can be found here.