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Sydney South NSW 1235, Level 11, 227 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000

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© 2022 Opportunity International AustraliaABN 83 003 805 043

Everyone’s story counts: Measuring what really matters

By Opportunity International Australia

As we evolve, Opportunity is moving towards more meaningful metrics to assess the impact of our programs in addressing stigma and equity.

The objectives and key results of our programs are often a balance between doing the greatest good for the greatest number - and serving communities with the highest unmet needs. Our health and women’s safety programs also tackle changing perceptions, norms and behaviours in topic areas that are often stigmatised.

We recently conducted two studies which help us understand our progress beyond the outreach and number of beneficiaries to a more nuanced view of effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance. Our approach to program evaluation continues to evolve as we strive to achieve scale, sustainability, and meaningful impact.

Addressing domestic violence in India

Opportunity works to empower women at the individual, household, and societal level, to address domestic violence, which is the most prevalent form of gender-based violence.

This interim study on the impact of the PeaceMaker program, implemented by our partner MyChoices Foundation, adopts the UN Women’s ISE4GEMs framework (Inclusive Systemic Evaluation for Gender equality, Environments and Marginalised voices) and seeks to understand the progress of program outcomes against long-term outcomes.

Ultimate outcome  Long-term outcomes  Sample programs outcomes 
Empower victims of gender-based violence to live a life of dignity 

Improved awareness of gender-based violence and individual right to safety

Reduction in physical, verbal, emotional and sexual abuse

Improved confidence and ability to negotiate in the household

66% improvement in household negotiation

23% reduction in physical abuse

19% reduction in verbal and emotional abuse

34% reduction in sexual abuse

Create a supporting ecosystem for victims of gender-based violence, including community engagement

Improved social capital and participation of women in community meetings

Training and engagement of PeaceMakers or nodal change catalysts as trusted, available and supportive to victims of gender-based violence

96% PeaceMakers noted training helped gain confidence and trust, and overcome communication barriers

80% rated PeaceMakers as highly trustworthy and reassuring or accessible

This study indicated that while the PeaceMakers and counsellors provided much-needed support, domestic violence is still a pervasive public health issue and global human rights violence. While 33 per cent of women reported increased confidence or independence, the domestic violence program has not impacted livelihood opportunities, socialising with friends or access to household bank accounts. We continue to work on integration of economic empowerment, addressing persistent social barriers and mitigating relapse of abusive behaviours.

I was very dependent on my husband. I was always told by my parents that my husband, kids and in-laws are everything. I was very scared to leave because of what society is going to think, what will be my reputation? But after counselling, I learnt and became confident that awoman alone can also lead life. Improvement in self-respect.”Operation PeaceMaker Client 

Two Indian women with safe delivery kits
Joymala (right) received health training on childcare, she shows her vaccination card. Fajila (left) is eight months pregnant; she bought a safe delivery kit to support her baby's birth.

Combatting sex trafficking in India

Opportunity works to identify, educate, and empower communities about risk factors that increase their vulnerability to commercial sexual exploitation across India.

Early indicative findings from a study on the impact of the PeaceMaker program, implemented by our partner MyChoices Foundation, emphasizes the need to ensure ongoing community engagement after the implementation of the two-day Safe Village Program.

Ultimate outcome  Long-term outcomes  Sample program outcomes 
Reduce prevalence of commercial and sexual exploitation of children

Educate communities at-risk to actively prevent trafficking

Girls and boys, and families realise the behaviours that put them at risk of trafficking

81% of Safe Village Program were aware of vulnerability, compared to 54% in the control group

53% of Safe Village Program participants perceived a decrease in the threat of human trafficking after 2 years

73% of adolescents (key target audience) could recall the learnings after 2-3 years

 As we scale and strengthen the Safe Village Program, we will look to strengthen supplement the analytical model which identifies communities at risk of trafficking with inputs from civil society organisations, police and other local stakeholders.

Woman collects drinking water in India
A woman collects drinking water according to a water safety plan.

Providing basic health education in Bangladesh

Opportunity works to empower women and communities with primary health education through a network of Health Leaders, selected among our microfinance clients. 

In Bangladesh, we’ve trained 200 loan officers and 1,100 microfinance clients to deliver 25 modules of health education to address the gaps in health literacy identified in the baseline needs assessment. We’ve adopted the RE-AIM evaluation framework to assess our public health impact of our Health Leaders program:

  • Reach the target population
  • Effectiveness or efficacy
  • Adoption by target staff, settings, systems and communities
  • Implementation consistency, costs and adaptions made during delivery
  • Maintenance of intervention effects in individuals and settings over time

We recently completed our first KAP (Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices) quantitative study with our partner BURO based on baseline data from 2020 and monitoring data collected in 2021 with some impressive results: 

  • The median respondent in the sample demonstrated a 25increase in knowledge from 45% to 70% across the 8 primary health topics
  • The greatest improvements in knowledge, attitudes, and practices occurred in topics involving women’s health Menstrual and Reproductive Health (50% improvement) and Maternal Health (38% improvement)
  • It was surprising to see respondents with the lowest education levels (Illiterate and Can Read and Write level) demonstrate the greatest absolute increase in knowledge assessment scores (33% improvement) compared to respondents with Primary, Secondary and Higher Education (21-27% improvement).

It’s incredibly exciting to ‘see’ the meaningful and measurable impact of this program addressing women’s health issues and tackling both knowledge gaps as well as stigma towards maternal health, menstrual health, and reproductive health,” - Annie Wang, Health and Women’s Safety Programs Director, Opportunity International Australia.

The learnings will inform the current 2021-2022 program roll-out to train 550 more Health Leaders, and we are working on a follow-on qualitative study for continuous learning and improvement. Opportunity acknowledges the generous support of DFAT and the Dhaka High Commission in this work. Opportunity strives to be evidence-based in our interventions, and transparent about what’s working, and what’s not. Measuring what matters is tough, but everyone’s story counts. 

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