Impact Assessment refers both to the longer term, post-intervention, direct effects on the children and their families as a result of direct action. It also refers to the longer, indirect effect resulting from institutional capacity building, policy development and awareness raising.
IPEC is working on and Impact Assessment Framework that will identify and outline the different approaches to impact assessment of child labour interventions. It will provide the basis for deciding on a suitable approach within a given context.
Detailed guidelines on individual methodologies and approaches will be developed for use by IPEC and its partners.
Part of the impact assessment methodology will include tracking systems for measuring current and future effects and tracer studies for measuring past interventions (retrospective look)
Since 2000 a strategic area of work has centred on developing approaches to impact assessment. Impact assessment is a key area that enhances the capacity of partners and IPEC to build the knowledge base on which interventions work, how and why and, equally important, in what context these interventions would be effective and ready for replication and up-scaling.
As part of this goal, IPEC has developed and refined a methodology for tracer studies of child labour projects and elaborated the Tracer Study Manual. A tracer study is a retrospective analysis taking a sample of former beneficiaries of a child labour intervention and looking into the changes that transpired in their lives and that of their families. Tracer studies take place one to eight years after an intervention providing direct educational and livelihood services or benefits to families and children have finished. The purpose is to explore changes for children and their families and whether the intervention influenced these changes. The information from tracer studies can help to document and understand the longer term impacts for former beneficiaries and what services or type of services work better in the long run. Knowing what seems to work better and in what circumstances is valuable in any future programme planning, policy advice and decision making.