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The findings from the impact assessment form an important basis for demonstrating what an organisation has been able to achieve for its target group with the means at its disposal.

Upward Accountability

Aid agencies are accountable to public funding bodies as well as private and institutional donors. They must demonstrate that they have used the funds put at their disposal in a purposeful, efficient and effective manner. Impact assessments conducted with this in mind are often based on a Logical Framework Approach.

Positive factors

  • Independence
    The greater the independence of the body carrying out the assessment, the better suited the evaluation’s findings are for legitimation purposes.
  • Scientific soundness
    The public – and often the strategic decision-makers too – accept findings more readily if they have been produced by acknowledged and recognised institutions.
  • Communication
    The better the form of communication is tailored to the user group and the more targeted the selection of findings, the higher is the legitimising effect likely to be.

Forms of communication

Downward accountability

It is increasingly recognised that aid agencies also have a responsibility and are accountable to intermediaries and their target groups. Target groups should therefore not only be included in the planning and implementation stages of development projects, but also have a right to demand good performance from aid agencies. This alters the relationship from the aid agency giving and the target group taking to a truly equal partnership. This is part of empowering the target groups.


Both approaches are justified; the challenge is to combine them. The examples provided below show how this can be accomplished.