Our gardens are not simply just spaces for food production. They cultivate health, wealth, and a sense of belonging. Understanding and quantifying that change is critical. As DIG gains a deeper understanding of the areas in which we catalyze change, our monitoring, evaluation, and learning systems evolved to better measure our impact, resulting in evidence-based programming.
Our real-time monitoring system helps us stay up to date on our progress towards our milestones, overall program goals, and most importantly allows us to make rapid program adaptations where needed. Facilitators collect weekly field data on farmer engagement, garden productivity, marketing and sales, and more.
This information is used to make key decisions for each group of farmers, ensuring they have the tools to succeed.
Our rigorous evaluation methodology has grown over time, thanks to research partners and DIG’s advisory team. Currently, we use a mixed-methods approach, that measures impact in our key focal areas: nutrition, food security, economic empowerment, climate resilience, and community connection.
Together with our research partners, DIG carries out a quasi-experimental evaluation study in each country. The in-depth survey tool is carried out with farmers prior to joining DIG, and then again six months after graduating from the yearlong DIG program. These quantitative changes in diet diversity, food security, income, and garden agroecological conditions provide us with the impact data showcased in our impact reports. In addition to measuring these observable results, DIG also carries out focus groups and semi-structured interviews to understand the social impact and inclusion that many of the farmers experience through the program.
The University of Washington-Senegal Research Collaboration has over 40 years experience working in global health and nutrition in Senegal. One of their lead researchers, Dr. Noelle Benzekri's specializing in infectious disease research, has partnered with DIG to share her expertise in measuring and evaluating nutrition-sensitive agriculture programs.
The Global Fellows for Agricultural Development at UC Davis support our teams to carry out our impact evaluations. Under the mentorship of experienced international development faculty and DIG, these graduate students are involved in every step of the on-the-ground operations. The independent fellows support the entire impact evaluation process, from guiding the training of key enumerators, data collection & data quality, data cleaning, and analysis, and report writing.
DIG graduated through Miller Center's world-class Global Social Benefit Institute's Accelerator programs in 2019 with a rigorous effort to refine our business plan and operating model to address our efforts to scale. Those learnings have helped inform how DIG positions itself to grow.