Theories of change & impact measurement (March '21)

Report of the GFMD IMPACT donor-practitioner-academic learning and information sharing meeting on 15 March 2021.
“Support for media development is one of the most complex areas of the whole international development practise. No one has all the answers. The business model for independent media is under severe stress and this whole area is changing and really unpredictable ways.” - Meeting participant.


On March 15th GFMD IMPACT hosted a donor-practitioner-academic learning and information sharing meeting in collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA).

Case studies

The meeting heard three case studies where donors and practitioners spoke about their collaborative approaches to learning, evaluation and the effectiveness of their work. The first case study also heard from an academic who had carried out research with the donor and media development organisation presenting the case study.
Following the case studies, attendees broke out into three groups to hold more detailed discussions.
At the links below you can find summaries of the three case studies including the highlights of the breakout group discussions.

Introduction to GFMD IMPACT

The co-conveners of the meeting opened the session by sharing their hopes and ambitions for the GFMD IMPACT - the Global Forum for Media Development’s International Media Policy Advisory Centre.

Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)

GFMD's Executive Director, Mira Milosevic, opened the meeting by explaining that GFMD IMPACT aims to assist donors, funders, policy-makers, practitioners, and other stakeholders in making informed, evidence-based decisions on strategies, programming, funding, and advocacy for media development and journalism support.
Activities in 2021 will include hosting meetings bringing together donors, practitioners and researchers (the meeting on “Theories of change and impact measurement” was the first of these meetings) and establishing a Help Desk, which will use a network of experts and resources brought together by GFMD to respond in a timely fashion to requests from donors.
For information about the meeting background, consultations, studies and co-design sessions that have led to the creation of GFMD IMPACT see:

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Melina Papageorgiou explained that SDC has supported the creation of GFMD IMPACT as the sector needed a better long-lasting mechanism to
  • exchange evidence about what works to better inform media support policies of donors
  • complement and bring together other initiatives
  • distil learning from decades of media support
  • respond to a very fast-moving field full of challenges
  • provide a forum for media organisations in resource-poor and fragile contexts to share their perspective with donors, practitioners and researchers.
  • contribute to more coordinated policies for media support.

Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA)

CIMA's director, Mark Nelson, said that dealing with the relationship between donors and practitioners and the knowledge and information that they accumulate during the course of their work was critical.
A growing sense of urgency borne out of the economic crisis facing the media, accompanying misinfodemic, and the growing attention to media support gives momentum for change.
“We really need to share knowledge and learning about what works and what doesn't and to catalogue that knowledge so that we can get better results and be able to articulate those results. We also need new approaches to media development that is not only built on rigorous research, evidence and practical experience, but which also leverages from other areas of the development agenda to address the enabling environment for the media, the governance of the media, the governance of the Internet and social media.”


As well as being heartened by the large turnout and lively discussions at the first meeting we are also pleased to report that the meeting received overwhelmingly positive feedback:
80% design/structure = good/excellent.
90% quality and effectiveness of the speakers, chairs & rapporteurs = good/excellent.
90% relevance of themes and topics discussed = good/excellent.
There is also considerable support for holding more in-depth conversations on subjects discussed:
60% thought the breakout groups were too short
90% want to attend a longer meeting dedicated to the breakout group that they attended.
For more detailed feedback from the event see:
We will use the GFMD IMPACT email list to announce future activities, including the next GFMD IMPACT learning meeting, which is scheduled for June.
To subscribe either:
We also recommend that you...

... sign up for our newsletter - MediaDev Insider

You can read the MediaDev Insider newsletter about this GFMD IMPACT meeting here.

And finally...

Please use the options at the bottom of the page to navigate to the first case study or skip to the one you are interested in using these links: