Beneficiary Assessment is about getting peoples' own perspectives on development results in a fair way and to use the findings to adapt and steer our (Swiss funded, donor) contribution to development processes. It should help us get a better idea of how a project has contributed to its original goals, but it goes beyond this to give the range of development actors (donors, implementers, local stakeholders) greater insight into community perspectives on a project's effectiveness, and provides a basis for meaningful response to people's self-expressed needs.
For SDC, the BA is embedded in our Results Based Management thinking, and is one source of information to get insight at the outcome level. It allows verifying the impact hypothesis and checking if the poverty reduction effect implicitly included in a systemic approach is taking place or not.
A BA also serves to bring concerned communities closer to a project: not only are members of communities themselves involved in conducting BA field research, but the community members whose opinions are sought also develop a better idea of what a project is trying to achieve, and who is involved in trying to make it happen.
Here are some video impressions of key players in previous BA exercises:
BA Facilitator in Swaziland
See report of the event in Lesotho, Swaziland
BAproject implementer in Nepal
SDC Project Manager
See here (Video Reports) for additional testimonies from various BA stakeholders
A BA is driven by a core set of principles which are designed to ensure that it reaches the goals of revealing local perspectives on development interventions and providing clear indications of how development actors can make meaningful adjustments to their work. These principles are: