Do we have effective programs?
All Reach for Change’s stakeholders, from the children engaged in programs to our business partners on the board, express a great interest in our program effectiveness. We need to show that we are operating effectively and efficiently in accordance with our stated missions and that we are offering value for investments made by our partners.
One part of this is to share a balanced picture of what we have accomplished. But equally important is to report on our program management, including its systems and methodologies for monitoring effectiveness, evaluating performance and impact, and for ongoing learning and development.
In order to do this we have used the GRI Specific Standard Disclosers for Sectors, G3 NGO Sector Supplement. We are aware that this NGO supplement was not updated and will not be a part of GRI-G4. However, we found the indicators helpful in reporting on issues substantial to our stakeholders.
Stakeholders in the value creation process
In order to better understand our impact, and to improve the articulation among mission, values, programs and results, Reach for Change is committed to active participation from our stakeholders. Therefore, we have developed practices ensuring involvement at various levels of the policy-making and programming for our stakeholders.
Reach for Change involves stakeholders in all steps of our value creation process. Initially we engage stakeholders to define material issues and improve our strategy. The next step is to involve the stakeholders in the operational issues. The final step is to engage stakeholders in the verification and evaluation of our program effectiveness and our impact. This gives us a well-informed point of departure to repeat the process. The level and methods of engagement differs between the stakeholder groups.
1. Children as our most important stakeholder is a key element for our success and they play a central roll in the definition of our programs. We mainly engage with children to:
a) Analyze our sustainability context. This is done via large surveys (minimum 1,000 children per market) via interviewees and focus groups. Those interactions are designed to give us important information on children’s situation and the most pressing issues on each market. The insights we make by consulting children help us improve investment strategies.
b) Define content of GRI-report. Two focus groups where held to consult children on materiality.
c) Children are also engaged in operational decisions. In the Search and Selection Process, where we chose the social entrepreneurs who become Change Leaders and get Reach for Change’s support, children are invited to as consults. A number of children participate in a Children’s Jury Panel.
d) Children are also involved in the development of the Incubator program by evaluating the performance of the Change Leader. Reach for Change staff do field visits and interviews where children voice their opinion about the program.
e) Verify impact and program effectiveness. Reach for Change have a systemized way to collect stories from children to learn about our impact and program effectiveness. Read more about the method called Most Significant Change Technic .
2. Change Leaders are the means through which Reach for Change transforms children’s lives. The Reach for Change incubator program exists to support them and help them scale. Even so, we greatly value their independence and have created a program structure where Change Leaders enjoy a high level of involvement in all parts. This means that they set their own goals and targets during a workshop that we call Take-off Session. The support we offer aims to help them reach those targets. The insights we make in the Take-off Session guide our work in supporting the Change Leader.
The Take-off Session is also the foundation in the quarterly reporting since the Change Leader report on his or her own objectives. Change Leaders are also involved in our program development strategy by participating in our piloting programs or in discussion groups before implementing changes. Change Leaders also evaluate our Incubator Program through an Annual Survey. We aim for an open and constant dialogue with our Change Leaders, where we collect input to be discussed in our Quality team or in the Management team.
3. Corporate Partners enable us to contribute in the development and strengthening of the Change Leader’s organizations. Corporate Partners participate in different stages of the selection of our Change Leaders and coach them throughout the Incubator program by mentorships and workshops. The mentors participate in an annual survey to help us identifying our program’s strengths and weaknesses and to improve their involvement in our activities. Reach for Change maintains constant dialogue with our corporate partners at different levels, for example we communicate constantly with our steering committee, consisted of partner representatives, who give their thoughts on development and results.
4. Applicants are potential Change Leaders and we want to keep track on their work. Through surveys we make important insights about their situation and needs. Reach for Change staff also keep an open line to them during the Search and Selection period. This means a large number of contacts and dialogues with the potential Change Leaders.
5. Employees are the most important resource of the Reach for Change organization. Staff climate surveys are carried out annually to evaluate both labor environment and employee satisfaction. Additionally, all employees are involved in the Search and Selection Process where we chose Change Leaders. Reach for Change has implemented a working strategy called Team of Teams where every team member has the opportunity to initiate change and propose ideas to develop within the team.
Moreover, Reach for Change developed a Materiality Survey in which employees, Board members and Change Leaders were asked about the most important topics regarding transparency and reporting. The results of this survey are the base for this report.
7. Community. We work in our communities to improve the lives of children. We do this through open campaigns where information is openly accessible and everyone has the same chance to participate. At the same time, we present our new Change Leaders to the community and let the individuals of the targeted communities be judges of the Change Leaders work. We communicate constantly with the communities we work in through different media platforms such as: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and most importantly, Change Leaders blogs which is our ongoing tool to engage with communities on issues relating to children’s rights and social change. The blogs are also an effective tool for us to share what we and our Change Leaders do. Furthermore, we collect and respond to feedback and input from the community. Communities can get access to our accountability reports and can communicate with us in case of a complaint through our feedback and complaint mechanism, wich will be described further below. Additionally, our campaigns are advertised in radio, TV, and newspaper all possible means to reach our communities.
Feedback, Complaints and Action
Reach for Change is committed to develop clear and participatory processes to integrate our stakeholders’ voices into our daily operations. Feedback received from our stakeholders is used for monitoring and adjustment of our programs and operations. Changes in our lines of action are communicated to our stakeholders through meetings, directives, updated manuals and working tools, as well as internal communications and annual reports.
The complaint mechanism will apply to all our offices around the world, and will take complaints regarding our own operations and our Change Leaders in the Incubator. The Feedback and Complaints Policy complements a set of policies that establish the guidelines to handle irregular situations such as the Anti-Corruption Policy and the Whistle Blowing Policy.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
It is our mission to continuously improve the lives of children. We do this by supporting Change Leaders. Reach for Change uses the Theory of Change methodology to monitor, evaluate and learn from the work of Change Leaders. Theory of Change is a widely adopted approach to social change that allows operations to define the building blocks of social impact and to create a visual map of the steps required to fulfill a vision of social improvement, a so called Pathway of Change. This is a method to break down the huge commitment made by the Change Leaders, who promise to improve the lives of children, that allows us monitor their actual progress.
To report on our aggregated performance we have defined Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to periodically evaluate our goals. Quarterly monitoring of our KPIs supports the progress of the organization towards its targets and help adjusting when necessary.
Each operational year starts with a session where Change Leaders with the support of Reach for Change staff set up goals and objectives, develop indicators and discuss measurement methods. During this session the Pathway of Change is created as a departure point for future evaluations.
Each quarter, Change Leaders submit a report on their progress. They give information, reflect and analyze what have been done so far on each objective stated in the Pathway of Change. Continuous documentation of the progress helps to stay on track and focus on the result. Change Leaders that spent one or more years in the incubator can benefit from analyzing previously reports when setting the new Pathway of Change. The aggregated information, from all Change Leaders individual portfolios gives Reach for Change access to impact data to follow the portfolio results, and analyze patterns.
By the end of the year, Change Leaders submit a Social Impact Report, that highlights results, achievements and impact from previous year, presented in an attractive way that could be accessible to other stakeholders.
As part of our ongoing evaluation, every year Change Leaders are assessed through the Go/No Go Tool, which identifies their overall performance. In addition, all countries and regions follow their results by tracking KPI’s and operational objectives. This allows us to track the quality of our operations.
During 2013, as a support for our Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning process, Reach for Change started developing a digital reporting system containing all the information in the Pathways of Change to help us manage our growing data.
To complement our Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Process, Reach for Change has created a Quality Team under the bases of the Team of Teams methodology, where members of the group evaluate their actions and implement new program proposals by themselves.
The Quality Team is lead by the Program Director and all Program/Country Managers participates. The purpose of this cross-regional group is to share experiences, create value to our programs, and work together to improve the quality and impact of our programs and our responsibility to stakeholders. We do this through capacity building, program development, research, reporting and policies. The group seeks to create an environment of innovation, exploring and search for new ideas to be able to adapt our programs to changing circumstances and new markets. The modifications and decisions taken jointly in this group are communicated to the rest of the local teams through internal communications.
Material changes of program in 2013
Learning and evaluating in order to improve our programs is done in interaction with all stakeholders. In 2013 one of the important changes was to develop new programs: the Garage and the Community programs, which both are a result of interacting with and learning from our applicants. The new programs were launched to meet the great interest of different kinds of support to social entrepreneurs taking a stand for children’s rights.
One of Reach for Change’s largest shift, and a direct result of feedback from the stakeholders themselves, is the concept in which the Search and Selection process was based on. We have moved from a “Search and Selection process” that aimed to finding the best investments, to a “Selection Program” with focus on supporting a large number of potential change agents to help them continue to develop their ideas. Participants in the Selection program has raised the need of getting feedback on their ideas, but also hinted that the process has been useful for them and inspire them to work further. When we understood that potential in our process, we transformed the process to be a supporting program, where we have found different way of supporting the applicants in business planning and communication skills. The programs key success is now dual – aiming to find investment candidates but also to stimulate a large number of change agents to develop their ideas on how to make change for children.
Gender and Diversity
Reach for Change have a non-discrimination and equality policy that is signed by all employees Reach for Change. When we invest in social entrepreneurs we have a zero-discrimination policy. This means that the manuals contains clear instructions on how to calculate number of men and women applying and compare that number to the number of men and women being selected.
To us it is crucial to choose the best social entrepreneur with the biggest impact potential. To do so, no one must be disadvantaged based on their ethnicity, age, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, transgender identity or language.
During 2013, we worked with 49 Change Leaders actively working in our Incubator and Management (4th year) program. Of them are 53 % women.
Informal cluster of girls’ rights fighters
We have chosen social entrepreneurs that focus specifically on promoting girls rights, or consider social issues where girls are specifically vulnerable. Examples are:
Elena Timofeeva supports girls affected or at risk of male violence in the form of trafficking and abuse. Many come from orphanages. Elena has started Jewel Girls in Russia, where the children can share experiences, support each other and strengthen their life opportunities. They receive therapy while also manufacture jewelry.
Ndonwie Peter fighting for women’s and children’s rights in Ghana and Cameroon. His organization PAORP-VWC provides training and skills training that prepare girls for a professional life, in an environment where many girls’ are forced to stay out school, to do household work and young marriages.
Regina Agyare, a young passionate software developer turned social tech entrepreneur in Ghana. She targets girls through a technology and mentorship program, to bring gender equality to the technology and provide critical thinking skills through practical learning with technology.
Ida Östensson, founder of Crossing Boarders promote equal participation in leisure activities in Sweden. Based on successful stories, they developed a nine-step method to work with gender equality and inclusion. Crossing Boarders vision is that everyone should have the same opportunities to discover, develop and maintain recreational interests, regardless of gender.
We will keep on doing active selection of ideas that address girl’s specific needs and interests. Through the network of Change Leaders and the benchmarking we fertilize through the Incubator activities, as the Change Leader summits, open dialogues to explore strategies and best practices.
Dunk in Ghana is an example of how the Incubator Program can influences the development of our Change Leaders organization. The social entrepreneurs Marie-Eve Lemiux and Mohammed Khaled work with children from deprived communities, giving them increased opportunities through regular sports activities. Dunk, their organization, combines basketball with life skills, training and mentoring programs, to encourage young people to take leadership roles in their communities and become agents of change. In Ghana, Dunk worked primarily with boys but with influence of the discussions with Swedish Change Leaders they decided to also integrate girls into their operations.
Public Awareness and Advocacy
Reach for Change is positioned as a corporate initiative. Our mission is dual: First we improve the everyday lives of children. Secondly, we add value to our corporate partners within the Kinnevik group. We do this by investing in social entrepreneurs creating a better world for children. The overarching goal of all our communication is to mobilize a global movement around the protection of children’s rights.
Our methods to communicate often include traditional campaigns where we reach a broad public. This is a strategic decision based on the fact that our main target group is potential social entrepreneurs. This also means that we can make best possible use of in-kind donations we get from our media partners within the Kinnevik group.
Another key decision regarding our communication is to use a methodology rooted in a stakeholder perspective. We analyze how we can create value for stakeholders trough our communication and engage them in our campaigns. In practice this means beginning the process with stakeholder dialogue to inform the position – research in form of surveys with key stakeholder groups. The second step is involving key stakeholder groups in the creation of the communicative concept, by the method of focus groups. The interaction with the target groups are measured and documented throughout the campaigns, and any feedback is duly recorded and lead to appropriate action.
We believe that communication is a powerful tool to empower our stakeholders and increase knowledge about global issues. To Reach for Change it is important to reflect on the narrative subject in all communication since we are at risk to create a situation where we stigmatize vulnerable groups trough our communication. This means that we need to involve and empower children in our communication.
One example is a campaign we made funded by a grant from Swedish International Development Agency, SIDA. The campaign is called “Children´s Voices” and is made from a massive stakeholder dialogue including 5,000 children in five countries in Africa. The children answered questions about their situation and their priorities. The purpose of this dialogue was dual. First, we could use the results to improve our investment strategy by better understanding pressing issues on the current markets. Second, it was also a way to involve children in advocacy. The insights made by this dialogue was used in Sweden as a tool to make people stop and think about how often stereotypical and simplified stories about the children in Africa is in the way of true knowledge. To further deepen our understanding we consulted children on the actual communication and discussed how to approach prejudices and simplistic images of Africa’s population. By doing this we could communicate with focus on the lack of knowledge amongst adults in Sweden rather than exploit individual children in the current African countries.
Knowledge based communication
Reach for Change has a research group that supports our operations and at the same time we recognize the importance of knowledge gathered by our employees on the ground. We harness from their experience; insights and best practices are identified through them. With the help of our employees and Change Leaders, and through the evidence based method Most Significant Change we identify the best storytelling cases that help us shape the content of our Communication Campaigns.
Since 2012, Reach for Change conducts a structured way of analyze the situation of children in countries where we launch our operations. We base it on surveys and focus groups with children, surveys with applicants, and research from institutional sources. From the analysis, Reach for Change identifies the most important areas and problems to tackle both globally and locally.
On the other hand, Reach for Change believes in the model of combining the expertise of the private sector and the ideas and passion of the social sector in creating a very effective, goal driven and structured social entrepreneurship field. Therefore, through the corporate social responsibility programs of our corporate partners, we are creating a movement of private sector employees concerned about the vulnerability of children.
Reach for Change’s global actions and priorities concerning our advocacy positions and public awareness campaigns are identified in the Global Communication Plan, which is approved by the Global Management Team every year. These communication strategies and priorities are communicated internally. The campaigns are spread through social media but also through our collaborations with different corporate partner channels, such as Radio, Newspapers, TV, Online, and events.
Reach for Change also have a global policy on subjects in communication under development. Each subject, regardless of age, must be informed of and have agreed to the intended use of the material, regardless of it being interviews or pictures. Children are often nameless illustrations in awareness campaigns of our field, and therefore the policy points out the importance of correct and full information on every individual in our advocacy materials.
Our campaigns 2013
Taking the above facts in consideration, Reach for Change has developed the following campaigns:
The Challenge Campaign: Reach for Change challenge individuals across the globe to come up with innovative ideas on how they can be change agents for children. The purpose is not only to find the Change Leaders for our incubator program, but also to mobilize a movement to actively work for the good of children. In 2013, we launched the Challenge Campaign in six countries (Sweden, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Chad, Rwanda, and Tanzania) receiving over 4,000 ideas. For instance, in Ghana our collaboration with Tigo help us delivering unprecedented records in participation. It is worth mentioning that all these campaigns look different in different countries depending on local context and media platform access from our corporate partners.
Aiming to empowering people to come up with ideas, to understand how we work for change, and to highlight important grassroots heroes, Reach for Change launched the Pin Campaign in January 2013 and developed collaborations with the Stenbeck’s Foundation, Radio Bandit , TV3 and Rix F.M. Radio in Sweden.
The Storytelling Campaign consists of a series of radio adds in Sweden with Change Leaders telling their stories about social innovation, inspiring people to follow their footsteps. The campaign has been going on throughout the year.
In order to create more awareness and involve communities in the selection process, the People’s Choice Award was launched in Ghana and Tanzania simultaneously with the Challenge Campaign. Applicants to the campaign were asked to share their ideas briefly on Facebook and fans were asked to vote for the idea they liked the most. A total of 271 submissions were made into the People’s Choice Awards, and 6,212 votes cast during the competition.
Reach for Change Sweden launched this year The Get Involved Campaign in order to actively involve employees from our corporate partners in our operations. The aim of the campaign was to look for advisers, experts and problem solvers to be engaged in the Incubator program or the Search and Selection process. With events, information campaigns and digital material, we intend to create a movement of co-workers committed to social issues. According to internal surveys, the partner employee pride of Reach for Change is 68%, and we have over 600 Co-workers actively involved in our programs.
Together with SIDA (Swedish International Development Agency), Reach for Change is running two projects 2013. First, the Children’s Voices Campaign, which purpose is to educate Swedish people about the situation of children in Africa. The core of the campaign is based on surveys to children, regarding their daily lives and their opinion about society. The results will serve as material for the social media campaign launch in 2014. The second part Inspiring Examples Campaign is based on social entrepreneurship and storytelling in Africa including series of seminars with African Change Leaders, and PR and Social Media activities in Sweden during the second semester of the year. It will also be advertised in printed media and radio in 2014.
During 2013 we worked in collaboration with Metro to launch the Metro Photo Challenge Campaign in order to develop a branding awareness not only in countries where Reach for Change has already operations but also in countries were Metro operates. The winners of the photo contest will travel to Ghana to interact with the main characters of our stories, and take pictures of children in their daily lives. The campaign reached 204 countries where 39,000 people submitted their photos and 120,000 photos were received.
Charity Run 5275 was organized the 22nd of September for the second time in Moscow by three Russian Charity Foundations: Life Line, United Way and Reach for Change. The purpose of the campaign was to arouse awareness about Reach for Change work in Russia, to involve co-workers, to present our Change Leaders to the public, and to raise funds. This event gathered more than two thousand people and has the potential to gather more every year as running and charity is getting popular among Muscovites. All the funds raised during this event were divided among the host foundations. Additionally, Russia had its first Duck Race Fundraising event where 3,000 rubber ducks were sold, 270,000 rubles were collected and a 2,5 million rubles were calculated in media attention.
Whenever Reach for Change closes a campaign, we write a report presenting the campaign accomplishments, lessons learned, and remaining tasks or recommendations to follow up. We also thank the audience, save contacts and try to build participant loyalty.
Coordination in our field
At the core of our programs, we push the social sector to help it grow. We collaborate with others to fill in where resources are missing. As a complement to foundations and development funds, we support the core operations, and we are not supporting projects. On a global level there are other programs for supporting social entrepreneurs, but less focus on the really early-stage as we have, and we therefore complement others. By identifying other actors and peers early as we launch operations, we build understanding and collaborations in the countries. In Sweden for example, Ashoka have chose to take on board two of our Change Leaders after they have grown and developed.
Before fully entering the countries and as part of our expansion strategy, we have mapped our most important stakeholders and started building relations and collaborations. We have met actors in the field of social entrepreneurship and children’s rights to get to know the local dynamics and partnership opportunities.
In Sweden, Reach for Change is a member of the steering committee of Forum for Social Innovation, a Swedish platform where academia, industry, government, and non-profit organizations develop research, competence and expertise in the fields of social innovation and social entrepreneurship. On a regular basis the Swedish team collaborates and meet other actors in the field and host joint events or meetings. One example were Ashoka and Reach for Change performing a joint tour over Sweden to find new entrepreneurs to invest in and talk about social entrepreneurship. As member of the 90 Account – Swedish Fundraising Control, Reach for Change Sweden is monitored and advised about best practices and laws regarding fundraising activities.
Reach for Change has recently joint the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), a membership organization that congregates actors interested in venture philanthropy and social investment across Europe.
In EECA-region, social entrepreneurship is a new tendency and Reach for Change Russia collaborates with St. Petersburg University in their work and teaching around social entrepreneurship. Reach for Change also cooperates with Nashe Buduschee (Our Future Foundation), an organization providing social entrepreneurs long-term interest –free loans. Change Leaders in Russia participated in their annual meeting and got to know more than 80 colleagues in different fields.