Community Social Worker Training
Image © EFICOR
EFICOR is a Christian aid, development and relief organisation that serves the poor, socially excluded and marginalised in India. Tearfund supports EFICOR’s Community Social Worker Training, equipping individuals with knowledge, skills and tools to use as change agents in communities. EFICOR has been training these community volunteers to identify needs and assets within poor communities and learn how to engage with Indian Government services.
Often people are unaware of government services such as pensions or village maternal and child health services and sometimes these services are not operating effectively for a range of reasons. Community volunteers are trained to know what services are available and they use this knowledge to assist people to connect with Government service providers.
An interview panel selects candidates for the training, looking at their commitment and desire to serve communities. The training program runs in 3 blocks of 2 weeks over a 12-month period with practical work being undertaken between the intensive training sessions. Over a year, the aim is to train 40 people who will seek to transform their local communities.
EFICOR’s Theory of Change for this project is: “If we provide training (knowledge and skills) on good development approaches in India to individuals who are currently in small NGOs or Churches, they will apply these skills in their community, which will result in people living in poverty in those communities having a “full life.”
Through applying the SROI framework, along with broader measurement principles, Tearfund sought to capture greater understanding of the work and measure the value created for communities. This methodology helps Tearfund quantify complex project results into succinct and meaningful communication for our supporters.
The calculated SROI on the Social Worker Training project reflects a result of AUD $24 for every AUD $1 granted to this project. This calculation is a result of considering the value of the total cost of the program, AUD $73,000 against the value of the outputs: AUD $1,875,000.
Other findings include:
The return of investment for Tearfund Australia was estimated by considering the cost to build various infrastructure (pumps, toilets etc) and the value of labour and material inputs provided by the trainees and the community.
The value of undertaking an SROI study for Tearfund Australia was significant. It encouraged Tearfund to broaden our thinking around measuring and communicating the value of our partner’s work to our supporters. While the SROI approach applies financial proxies to the most important outcomes as valued by the communities, it enables Tearfund to consider an interpretation of our project’s value for money; a perspective we haven’t explored previously. It was particularly useful to help us justify continuing to fund this project because on traditional value for money assessments, with only 40 direct beneficiaries, the cost per beneficiary is quite high. The SROI method helped us assess the broader impact and value of the project.
Tearfund has learned that there is very encouraging work happening that we can seek to quantify and better communicate impact with supporters. We’ve recognised that this is an area that will be important to resource and grow our understanding into the future.
There were challenges for Tearfund in working out how to calculate the social value of the project, as well as in deciding what to include in the calculations. The return on investment was estimated by considering the cost to build various infrastructure (pumps, toilets etc) and the value of labour and material inputs provided by the trainees and the community. We didn’t include in our calculation the estimation that for every AUD $1 invested in water and sanitation, there is an AUD $4.30 return in the form of reduced health care costs for individuals and society. If we had included this calculation rather than simply the output costs, the social return on investment figure increases to over AUD $30 for every AUD $1 invested in the project. However, in drawing on the principles of only including what is material and seeking to not overclaim, we decided not to include these elements in the final SROI figure.
Tearfund Australia had two staff members undertake the Accredited Social Return on Investment course with Social Ventures Australia to build capacity in this area.
In considering next steps for Tearfund Australia, we recognise the challenges we face in seeking to understand the value of the changes on people’s lives. Particularly as we did this SROI study remotely, through relying on project reports from our partner EFICOR, and weren’t able in this case to specify any further questions we may have wanted to ask project participants or directly meet with communities or community members to investigate further into changes that have occurred. This is something we would like to explore in the future, as we recognise that there are assumptions we are making about the value placed on different outcomes, which may not be valued or prioritised in the same way for the communities.
The study followed the evaluative SROI methodology. The main features of the methodology are outlined below.
The monetary outcomes of this project were given a value through calculating the cost of the products provided by the Indian Government, for example, in considering the cost to build various infrastructure (pumps, toilets etc) and the value of labour and material inputs provided by the trainees and the community.
We also considered the value of broader impacts of the project, such as tree planting and the health benefits of sanitation investment, and sought to calculate them:
 Proxy provided by: https://treenet.org/resources/the-economic-value-of-trees-in-urban-areas-estimating-the-benefits-of-adelaides-street-trees/ Accessed 25 September 2019.