SYEF was hugely fortunate to have an evaluator, Alex McHenry, donate time to the organization this year, to assess the impact of our programming and scholarships on our alumni. Over the course of multiple months, Alex conducted interviews with nearly every one of our 60+ alumni, and from her transcribed notes of interviews, she established a framework of inputs, outputs, outcomes and impacts of our programs. Using a method labeled Most Significant Change, each alumni’s story was compiled, and then reviewed by the Samburu-based SYEF board, from which the most compelling stories were selected, and to be shared with other members of the community to illustrate the impact of SYEF’s work.
Alex’s work showed that scholarships, mentoring and helping students navigate school policies as among the most valuable activities by the organization. Since most of our alumni completed high school prior to the launch of programming we do today, those programs were not represented in the stories, but we expect they will ‘show up’ when we replicate an evaluation later down the road.
In terms of outcomes, the results are inspiring and promising. Our students gain confidence in pursuing their goals, broaden their perspectives and worldviews as they gain exposure to other people and parts of the country during high school, and acquire problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Overall, Alex’ evaluation confirmed that much of what we hope for in terms of our impact is coming to fruition, while also revealing areas we can strengthen. This information will help fine-tune our programs and efforts, and result in a better, stronger organization as a result.