Outcome Measurement in Local Governance Programmes: A Power Dimension

Published on 10 May 2013

This paper explores how outcome measurement is understood in several SDC local governance programmes, reviewed in a HELVETAS Learning Project. This critical review assesses the extent to which power issues are recognised, understood and tracked within such programmes and suggests ways to enhance this. Some highlights of this review include:

  • being clear about what power and empowerment mean in a particular context, and how they are expected to change (e.g. with a theory of change), can lead to better indicators and methods for measurement
  • the way power is implicitly understood in local governance programmes and outcome measurement can lead to a focus only on the more formal and visible dimensions of power
  • the complexity of power means that a more clearly articulated and power-aware theory of change underpinning the intervention is needed.

For democratic local governance initiatives to contribute to shifting power, programme staff need to (1) explicitly define and include power in the initiative?s theory of change at design stage; (2) clarify what shifts in power are intended; and (3) determine how these shifts can be observed.


Jethro Pettit

Emeritus Fellow

Rosemary McGee

Power and Popular Politics Cluster Lead

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published by
McGee, R. and Pettit, J.


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