Baseline studies

Rice farmers

Baseline surveys serve two purposes: first, they are a precursor for robust evaluation of a project’s effectiveness and impact, and second, they verify or complement information gathered through qualitative assessment tools. Both functions are important: without a baseline, the identification of an project’s impact becomes less robust and precise. Only if a representative survey is conducted at the outset of a project or programme – and if this survey is repeated as an endline survey with the same method – can changes amongst conditions in question (indicators) be properly identified, and valid inferences be made towards the attribution of that change to a project.

Furthermore, baseline surveys effectively broaden the scope of an assessment: whereas most assessment tools are qualitative in nature and thus focus on a small sample of people, surveys can ascertain that qualitative findings are actually representative – or reveal that they are not. The views of marginalized groups in particular, which are easily under-represented in workshops and interviews, can be captured through surveys. Baseline surveys therefore are not just crucial for M+E, they are also important for assessment and planning.

Despite their importance, practice shows that baseline surveys are sometimes omitted or conducted in such a way that they cannot provide the point of comparison with an endline. Usually, this omission is due not so much to a lack of awareness, but rather due to limited time, funding, and the required capacity of local partners.

Recognizing these limitations, Banyaneer offers customized solutions for baseline surveys: we either deliver complete packages (including questionnaire design and sampling, data gathering, data analysis and reporting) or just provide support where it is needed (survey design, analysis, or both). While the second option does not require the local presence of one of our consultants, it is only feasible if the local partner has adequate capacity in surveying.

Baseline survey training courseFurthermore, we now offer baseline survey training courses that can be arranged in conjunction with actual surveys – building the capacity of your team to carry out surveys independently.

From December 2016 onwards, we will furthermore offer the resilience radar, a free tool that can be used as baseline and endline survey.

Some of the baseline studies we conducted…

Baseline survey Southern CaucasusAustrian Red Cross - Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan (2016)

For this baseline, we trained survey supervisors, who then formed and trained data collection teams in three countries. The survey results were analysed by Banyaneer. The report calls for multiple channels to greater disaster preparedness and livelihood resilience.

Baseline survey PhilippinesAmerican Red Cross – Philippines (2015)

The baseline survey amongst 600 households included thorough supervisor and enumerator training; it inspired the development of our baseline training course and the resilience radar.

Baseline survey WelthungerhilfeWelthungerhilfe – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (2013)

The report highlights the different contexts in the regions supported by the project, and concludes that farmer groups will need to bring tangible benefits to become sustainable interlocutors with governments.

Baseline SLRCSSri Lanka Red Cross Society – Sri Lanka (2012)

Preparing a project to reinforce resilience of 25 hazard-exposed communities, Sri Lanka Red Cross Society requested support in survey design and data analysis. Banyaneer provided the sampling framework and questionnaire, a training module for Red Cross enumerators, data analysis and reporting for this survey of 844 households.

Baseline CARE coastal resilienceCARE Germany/Luxembourg – Thailand, Indonesia (2011/12)

The survey amongst 1,440 households assesses patterns of risk, vulnerability and resilience. It concludes that climate change adaptation and poverty reduction need to go hand in hand.