Behind the scenes at The Women’s Bakery, we have been working hard to collect data to help inform and grow our programming.
One of the main monitoring and evaluation tools we use is a baseline survey, which is taken at the beginning of training, six months after, and each year subsequently. It is lengthy and includes many questions that can help us identify changes in livelihood including topic areas regarding health, nutrition, income, education, expenditure, and self-confidence.
This baseline has been updated and enhanced six times this year with help and input from a variety of interns, friends, and professionals.
Over the course of the past two years, the data collected has helped us to improve our programming. For instance, we anticipated that women working in the bakery for six months or more would choose to use their income to pay for national health insurance, Mutuelle. We were wrong. We reacted by starting to include health insurance for the women and their families as a benefit to their employment at the bakery.
Additionally, we anticipated women would feel confident in having the right knowledge and increased spending power to purchase more nutritious food. We were wrong. We reacted by creating an eight-part curriculum series to be taught over a group lunches at the bakeries. One lesson per week for eight weeks.
We are learning from our mistakes and helping to grow our programs as we go. While data collection and analysis takes a long time, it is crucial for our success.