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Within this crowded framework of violence in Europe, where multiple beneficiary groups were to be supported, diversified target (intermediary) groups mobilized and empowered, and where knowledge and understanding were to emerge and grow, what could really be achieved in 12 short months of project activity?
The figures for concrete output do not tell the whole story. Quantitative statistics, in fact, are very difficult to obtain. Although projects had to submit a final report of their activity and achievements, and although they were given a format in which to do this (a format reviewed and upgraded each year), project leaders found it very difficult to describe what they had achieved. This is a weakness in project management and in the capacity of organizations, because often there were real achievements that were not recognized as such by the organizations themselves.
It is also clear that `impact´ is an elusive concept for many organizations. It is easy to understand that, in a 12-month project, for example, the organization and successful running of a conference might be seen as a goal and an output. But the impact of that conference - and ultimately of all the hard work that went into organizing it - depends on the substance of the meeting and of course on the number of people who turned up and what they took away from the event (measured, for example, through a feedback questionnaire). Dozens of meetings were held as part of Daphne projects without any record being kept (or at least documented for the Commission) of the number of people who attended, who they were, which groups or sectors they represented. All that might be reflected in documentation sent to the Commission, for example, is that the project produced a `research report and conference´. And yet the usefulness of the research report, its likelihood of expanding knowledge and understanding, and its value to effecting change on the ground, were undoubtedly directly linked to the sharing of the report at that conference, about which we know nothing.
Similarly, awareness campaigns have been both a priority and a regular event of Daphne projects, but there is almost no information on their coverage. How many posters were produced and in what languages (it can run to thousands in half a dozen different languages - an enormous `tool´ of awareness raising). Where were they posted and how long did they stay there? Was there any documented reaction to them, for example in local press reports, or even through phone calls or comments to the organizers? What were the messages they contained and how were these developed? Who were they aimed at and what response was hoped for?
All of this information is important if the impact of the campaign is to be gauged and if lessons are to be learned for the future. And still almost all final reports on information campaigns funded by Daphne concentrate on reporting whether the campaign happened, whether it was carried out on time and according to budget.
This is perhaps a result of a perception that `donors´ only care about whether the actions were completed, on time and to budget. This has often been the case in the past, but donor agencies increasingly are themselves asked to measure the impact of their funding by their political masters, and must rely on implementing agencies to provide that information to a large extent. This is the case for Daphne, which reports regularly through the Commissioner to the European Parliament on the substantive outcomes of the programme; but additionally in the `spirit of Daphne´, the Commission takes very seriously the drawing of lessons from project activity, the impact that projects have on preventing violence in Europe and protecting children, young people and women from its ravages, and on making a real difference.
The table that follows is therefore indicative only (the figures for 1997 may be near to accurate, since the ex-post evaluators for that year did ask general questions about project output). For 1998 and 1999, incomplete figures are available and included simply for information. Given the reporting cycle of Daphne projects (for 12-month projects, submission and decision in year X, activity in year X+1 and reporting in year X+2), even indicative information is not available for projects funded under the Daphne Programme except for 2000, and that is incomplete, both because projects did not always indicate output - despite a specific question relating to this in the revised final reporting format - and because some multi-annual projects have not yet reported (as of May 2003). It is therefore not included.
Indications of concrete output of the three years of the Daphne Initiative*
|Other publications (guides, checklists, recommendations)||16||67||11||94|
|Audio-visual (videos, CD-ROMs)||5||21||2||28|
|Direct support actions||3||25||2||30|
|New transnational networks||2||1||3||6|
|New multi-disciplinary networks||3||8||3||14|
*These figures have been compiled: for year 1997, from ex-post evaluation reports of the projects, cross-checked against project final reports; for 1998 and 1999, from the projects´ final reports which often enter into great detail on the substance of the project but rarely on the output. The figures should therefore be considered to be indications only and not comprehensive. Neither the earlier versions of the final reporting format nor the ex-post evaluation schedule asked for precise details of quantity/nature of output. In follow-up telephone calls, project organizers are rarely able to recall exactly how many posters, for example, were produced in each of several languages some years before. The numbers given therefore probably under-state the real output of the Initiative.
It should be noted here that the Daphne Initiative and Programme provided for projects with direct support components, although this was not the main thrust of the funding line.
In general, `support actions´ such as the running of refuges for victims of domestic violence, helplines, drop-in centres for women and girls in prostitution, and NGO desks in police stations for victim support, provided a context in which data collection, networking, exchange of experiences or awareness-raising activities were taking place. Given the real risk of dependency and failure that NGOs face when such infrastructural or semi-infrastructural work is supported by project funding rather than core funding, the Commission did not specifically set out to encourage submissions for direct support except as part of a clearly discreet project. The few projects that did include direct support are noted in the matrix in Annex.
From 2000, the quantity of concrete output from the projects increased to such an extent that it became extremely difficult to keep track of all outputs. For example, a Portuguese project with partners in Spain and Finland (00/129/WC) that aimed to undertake research on domestic violence and, on the basis of this and a transnational conference, design an awareness and information campaign, listed the following `outputs´ in its final report:
Indeed, the output of the projects from 2000 reflect the increased sophistication of the projects in general. It is clear that the three years of the Initiative had contributed to increasing capacity among organizations in terms of conceptualizing and running European projects against violence. This was confirmed by the external evaluators who visited completed 2000 Daphne projects:
"Most projects funded in 2000 have performed exceptionally well. Thirty-six (77 per cent) of the projects were rated by evaluators as being either excellent or good. Projects are increasingly ambitious in scope and carry out a mixed range of activities. The experience of previous projects, the growing Daphne network and the refinement of Daphne objectives are having a very positive impact on projects´ capacity to realise these ambitions." [External evaluators´ report of the 2000 Daphne Programme]
Because of the nature of the Daphne Programme life-cycle, final reports from projects selected in 2002 are not due until early 2003 and external evaluation of the Programme for that year will also then be undertaken. It is therefore impossible to give precise indications of the concrete output of later projects, although interim monitoring reports indicate that the broad-ranging output and increased complexity and sophistication of the projects continued.
 It would be useful to include, in future final reporting formats, a grid to collect quantitative information, for example for each research report: the number of copies printed in each language (and which languages), how many copies were distributed by mail, through meetings, electronically etc.
 The Daphne Programme itself attempted this exercise in 2002. Selecting a number of well-developed awareness campaigns that had been funded since 1997, the Commission produced an analytical overview of these campaigns with lessons to be learned, suggestions on how they might be replicated across Europe, and samples of the materials to be downloaded from the Daphne website. The result Europe and Violence: Messages from Daphne was well received and a number of organizations sent details of their projects for inclusion in future updates.