Counting People Reached – Navigating direct, indirect and double counting

Sep 9, 2016


With the increased attention to performance accountability, there has understandably been much focus on the measurement of impact indicators and higher level results. However, one should not underestimate the importance of and challenges for measuring basic output-level indicators, such as people reached by services (AKA “beneficiaries”). This blog will examine this, focusing on the challenges presented by direct, indirect and double counting. It will conclude that there is no universal “recipe” for accurately counting people reached, but approaches can be adapted according to organizational and operational context.Continue Reading

“Beneficiary” Revisited

May 9, 2016



This post is about what to call the people we target in development and humanitarian relief work – that may strike one as mundane, but for monitoring and evaluation (M&E), it is essential to define and clearly understand what we are to measure and report. From “beneficiaries” and “clients” to “target population” and “people reached,” semantics vary, with salient considerations (and complications) for measurement. I will illustrate this by first looking at a couple glitches with the use of “beneficiary,” 2) recognize that semantics adapts to context, and 3) stress the important distinction between measuring outreach versus impact.Continue Reading