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Toolkit for evaluating the outcomes and impacts 
of small/medium-sized conservation projects

What is PRISM?

PRISM is a toolkit that aims to support small/medium-sized conservation projects to effectively evaluate the outcomes and impacts of their work.

The toolkit has been developed by a collaboration of several conservation NGOs with additional input from scientists and practitioners from across the conservation sector.

The toolkit is divided into four main sections:

Introduction and Key Concepts: Provides a basic overview of the theory behind evaluation relevant to small/medium-sized conservation projects

Designing and Implementing the Evaluation: Guides users through a simple, step by step process for evaluating project outcomes and impacts, including identifying what you need to evaluate, how to collect evaluation data, analysing/interpreting results and deciding what to do next.

Modules: Provides users with additional guidance and directs users towards methods for evaluating outcomes/impacts resulting from five different kinds of conservation action:

  • Awareness and Attitudes
  • Capacity Development
  • Livelihoods and Governance
  • Policy
  • Species and Habitat Management

Method factsheets: Outlines over 60 practical, easy to use methods and supplementary guidance factsheets for collecting, analysing and interpreting evaluation data

Above all, PRISM aims to help practitioners to go beyond only measuring what the project has done (actions & outputs), and to begin to evaluate the outcomes and impacts (positive and negative) resulting from the project, in a way that promotes learning, while still remaining within the capacity and resource limits of the project team.

Who can use this toolkit?

This toolkit has been designed primarily for use by practitioners carrying out or supporting small/medium-sized conservation projects.While there is no set defnition for a small/medium-sized project, this toolkit has been designed to apply to projects with some or all of the characteristics listed below (although much of the guidance it contains will be relevant for other projects too).

  • Budget between $5,000 – $100,000
  • Short timeframe (<5 years)
  • Small project team, often with limited capacity in relation to evaluation
  • Limited resources available for evaluation
  • Projects taking place in complex environments, where it can be diffcult to separate project outcomes and impacts from other factors.

When to use this toolkit

In an ideal world, all projects would build in evaluation from the start. We recognise however that many users may be picking up this toolkit mid-way through a project, towards the end of a project or after the project has ended. Therefore this toolkit has been designed so that it can be used at the beginning, middle or end of a project. Although note that some methods will only apply to projects that have considered evaluation at the outset.

PRISM has been developed by:
With Financial support from: