Structuring a Comparative Assessment: Lessons on Advocacy Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning

Degree Name

MA in Conflict Transformation

First Advisor

Jeff Unsicker

Second Advisor

Jeff Unsicker


This document examines an experimental method of conducting a comparative assessment of policy influence by a cohort of US-based, international non-governmental organizations (INGOs). The assessment was conducted while I was the Policy Influence Evaluation Intern with Oxfam America (OA), and centers on the food aid reform campaign. Through desk research, the assessment focused on retrieving and analyzing quantitative data. Design considerations for the final technical report metrics were influenced by research limitations, subject matter literature, and organizational concepts. Findings and results from original metrics present a synthesis of quantifiable data pertaining to alternative media and policy maker access. Significant learning was achieved in distinct areas, such as, identifying campaign strengths and weaknesses, INGO coalition contributions, and important sources of technical information from which data can be extracted. There exists no concrete evidence of attribution to policy influence, yet the most valuable lessons emerged after the project concluded: Oxfam America’s (OA) internal data collection system must be improved before looking outward; and that when assessing a campaign’s effectiveness and strategy, we must do so with a holistic mindset.

Keywords: policy influence, comparative assessment, quantitative data

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