We recently carried out an impact assessment of our capacity building programme to support National Media Defence Centres across the world. This support is aimed at increasing the capacity of these organisations, and building a strong and sustainable network of legal defence centres for independent media across the globe.
In order to measure the impact of our support, we used an approach inspired by the Most Significant Change (MSC) methodology. It consists of collecting a cluster of testimonies and stories from stakeholders using a template of questions aimed at measuring the impact of MLDI’s support for these organisations. Once assembled, the answers constituted ‘significant change stories’.
We then carried out a workshop to review the stories and identify themes of change and impact.
In total eight organisations’ stories were collected, and they all converged on common themes that allowed MLDI to gauge its role in supporting these organisations. These themes have been grouped into three key roles:
- MLDI as a crucial donor
- MLDI as a capacity builder
- MLDI a catalyst.
The partner with the ‘winning story’ (or the one which reported the most change) explained the impact of MLDI’s support, stating
“the changes resulted exclusively because of MLDI ’s support and funding, since without that funding no organisation would be able to provide such services …. Other funders, at the moment, seem uninterested in media related projects in general, and media legal defence is never listed among priority areas in their calls for proposals. Therefore, we could say that without MLDI’s support, journalists and media would find themselves in far more precarious situation.”
Meanwhile, other partner organisations said, of MLDI’s support:
“The project allowed the organisation to increase its international profile, through involvement in the informal network of media defence organisations from the region.”
“MLDI’s early support … allowed [the organisation] to take its first steps in building a legal unit. This provided the infrastructure on which all our subsequent accomplishments have been built. That we were already engaged in the defence of journalists created a virtuous circle which allowed us to raise more funds, defend more clients, provide better support and go to donors to allow us to do more”.
Our national media defence centre programme continues to be a growing area of our work and we now fund and support 14 different defence centres in 13 different countries.