Our Global Impact Database is a secure, anonymous database that is conceptualised, set up, and run entirely by our staff and volunteers. This Projects Abroad initiative allows us to track our progress and evaluate the work we’re doing. It helps our volunteers see the tangible evidence of their work, and that what they do contributes to the long-term goals defined in our management plans.
Ultimately, we want to ensure that we and our volunteers are actively making a difference in the communities where we work and directly benefiting the people living there.
As a responsible volunteering organization, we aim to provide worthwhile projects that meet the core needs of our beneficiaries and volunteers. As a result, data gleaned from our Global Impact Database is keenly analyzed to inform our strategies and operational decisions.
- Kay Hendricks, Head of Programme Development.
What do we use the database for?
Identifying needs and defining objectives
The first step in working with the Global Impact Database is collecting baseline data. When we collect data on a placement or individual, we input this data into our system where it can be aggregated and used to identify what their specific needs are.
For instance, the data might indicate that a kindergarten lacks hygiene resources, such as posters about hygiene and access to clean water for children to wash their hands. We can then use this information to put together a plan of action for improving hygiene at that specific placement.
Focusing our efforts
In addition to giving us direction on what needs to be done at each placement, the database provides information on how we can adjust the work we do for each individual or community.
For example, we identify a need, such as high levels of non-communicable diseases (like diabetes or high blood pressure) in a particular area, and we then focus on running awareness campaigns about health and nutrition and conducting health screenings in these areas.
Our database is updated every day by staff and volunteers around the world. We are able to use this information to give volunteers specific goals that they can work towards during their placement. This directs volunteers’ efforts to where they will have the greatest impact and ensures that our volunteers are building on the work of previous volunteers.
Each effort directed towards the same goal adds up, so that no matter how long a volunteer works at one of our placements, he/she is always contributing to our overarching goals.
For example, a Childcare Project volunteer can refer to data collected on each child at a placement to find out each child’s competency in a certain skill. The volunteer can then split the children into groups based on these competency levels so that lessons are tailored to focus on the needs of each group.
As each child progresses, future volunteers can adjust which group each child falls into, making sure that volunteers are always catering for the specific needs of children at their placement.
The Global Impact Database helps us to focus on goals that address the needs of each placement and direct our resources where they are needed most. We also use the database to monitor our overall progress.
By continually collecting data on our beneficiaries, we are able to see what works and what needs to be adjusted. Through this process, we can ensure that our efforts are always moving us closer to our goals and that we make a real impact.
Safety and confidentiality
The database does not identify individuals by name, but instead allocates an identification number to each beneficiary. This ensures anonymity and protects the dignity of local people by ensuring that any sensitive information entered into the database is confidential.
Once volunteers are no longer working with the database at their placements, their access is taken away. We have put these measures in place to ensure that information in the database is secure and placements can continue to benefit from the work we do without compromising on confidentiality.