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Method for Impact Assessment of Programmes and Projects (MAPP)

MAPP was developed in 1999 by Dr Susanne Neubart at the German Development Institute. It is a participatory approach to recording the effects of a project or programme. MAPP is based on group discussions that record and analyse retrospectively, using a series of logical tools, changes and effects surrounding a project or programme. The group analyses the effect of the project, at first in general and then in detail, by means of various self-defined indicators. Next, the relevant project measures and activities (and additional actors) are listed and prioritised. Lastly, the group looks at the contribution made by the individual development measures to the observed developments. The authors claim that the method makes it possible to bridge the attribution gap. MAPP is well suited for assessing multi-dimensional development schemes. It also records unexpected effects. The assessments are primarily of a qualitative nature and are based on the subjective judgments of the participants in the group discussion.


The method consists of using the following 6 tools in a logical sequence.

  • Lifeline
    The overall development of the project area is analysed from local people’s perspective over the period of the project under evaluation on a five-point scale and presented as a graph.
  • Trend analysis
    Development over this period is recorded in detail using several criteria, giving an overall trend for each criterion. This step also involves the participants in the group discussion defining the criteria (indicators).
  • Crosschecking
    Statistics, monitoring data, observations, etc. can all be called upon to check the trend analysis results.
  • List of measures
    A list is made of the measures used in the project under study and also of other actors (other projects, government, etc.) and put in order of their relevance to beneficiaries in the area. In addition, the beneficiaries’ own contribution in terms of work and money is also analysed.

Diagram: Neubert (2010)

  • Influence matrix
    The group now discusses and analyses the effect of individual measures (4.) on the individual development criteria (2.) and these are entered into a matrix. This matrix makes it possible to analyse, firstly, which measures had a strong influence and, secondly, which indicators changed for the better or the worse.
  • Development and impact profile
    The most important information gained using the previous tools are summarised to give an overview. This shows whether, overall, development is evolving in a robust or a vulnerable (irregular) fashion, which the main factors favouring development are, and what role the development measures of different organisations plays in this.

Diagram: Neubert (2010)


MAPP is very suitable:

  • For projects/programmes with clearly defined target groups and effects that can be perceived by these target groups;
  • For evaluating multi-dimensional target plans (e.g. poverty alleviation, democratisation, etc.).

A certain culture of dialogue in the partner country is a precondition for this method to be successfully employed. Only then can genuine consensus as well as controversial perceptions be recognised in the group discussions.

An introduction including examples of all the tools as used in a real-life project: