A group of 16 data verifiers works alongside IAF staff to facilitate data collection and verification. This involves a systematic comparison of actual changes against planned goals and objectives, which helps both the IAF and its grantees to assess the results of their work.
Data verifiers provide orientations for new grantees to choose appropriate indicators for their projects, review data collection methods, select learning questions and determine base lines.
Every six months, grantees report on a handful of indicators selected from 41 that make up the Grassroots Development Framework(GDF) developed by the IAF. Data verifiers conduct visits to confirm the information contained in each report. To determine how a project is advancing, data verifiers measure the project's effects at three levels: individual, organization & society.
The contracted professionals have experience working with grassroots organizations & communities. For example, Eduardo Baptista, who has a PhD in Organizational Development and Sociology, is a professor and researcher and has been working for 30 years in project monitoring and evaluation. His experience includes work in more than 30 countries across Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.
Mexico's Martha Romero is a sociologist with experience in rural and community development. She specializes in indigenous organizations, social businesses, gender and sustainable development.
Their experience helps them to understand a wide variety of projects that may include microenterprise development, agriculture, training, environmental conservation and others.
These projects may also address needs for a variety of marginalized populations such as women, indigenous peoples, afrodescendants, people with disabilities and youths.
Colombia’s Manuel Guillermo González and Argentina’s verifier Adriana Rofman indicated that their work is not only to verify the project status. They must also listen, identify opportunities, and learn about the different experiences.
Data verifiers always treat grantees and beneficiaries with dignity, building amicable relationships and learning about the challenges they face.
They often travel over difficult terrain or spend days in remote areas to visit IAF’s projects. According to Guatemala’s Teresa Gutierrez, "To do the work, sometimes we need to walk side by side with the grantees without taking in consideration the difficult access or the weather."
As a project is ending, the grantee and the data verifier prepare a project history. Some grantees are later chosen to have ex-post assessment. IAF, its grantees and other interested parties learn about grassroots development from the studies.
But not all is work. After a long day, rest is needed for our people in the field.