Participatory Impact Pathways

The Participatory Impact Pathway Approach (PIPA) is a people centered, practical approach to planning, monitoring and evaluating complex research for development projects.

Current agricultural research is guided by impact pathways – descriptions of how research will ultimately affect people and livelihoods.

CIP’s PIPA takes the impact pathway beyond a linear model, focusing not only on where we are going, but the complex human relationships that have a crucial bearing on how we get there.

Workshops include a broad group of stakeholders, and may include people project implementers along with partners from national agricultural research (NAR) institutes, NGOs, farmers and facilitating players such as local government or regulatory departments in the Ministry of Agriculture.

Participants discuss how project activities and outputs contribute to goals, and are then encouraged to map out the important relationships between people necessary to bring results, detailing the changes in attitudes, knowledge, skills and practice needed, explaining why they are important, and outlining who needs to do what to make them happen.

Predictions (including expected social, economic or environmental impact) are encouraged to be specific, measurable, attributable, realistic and time bound, making the model an ideal tool for subsequent monitoring and evaluation of projects.

Workshops have successfully supported various programs in Africa, including CIP’s project promoting orange-fleshed sweetpotato as a food based approach to Vitamin A deficiency in West Kenya, and in a regional climate change modeling project, helping to track and highlight how the technology translates to making a difference in the real world.

How PIPA Workshops Help Participants?

  • Reach mutual understanding, and communicate their project’s intervention logic and its potential for achieving impact
  • Understand other projects working in the same program, and identify areas for collaboration
  • Generate a feeling of common purpose
  • Produce a narrative describing the project’s intervention logic and possible future impacts
  • Produce a framework for subsequent monitoring and evaluation

More Information

  • Alvarez, S., B. Dowthwaite, G. Thiele, R. Mackay, D. Cordoba, and K. Tehelen. 2010. Participatory impact pathways analysis: a practical method for project planning and evaluation. Development in Practice. 20(8): 946-958. Read more