Involvement of intended beneficiaries
Structural inequality both results from and leads to the exclusion of the interests and perspectives of certain groups. Inclusivity does just the opposite.
Inclusivity refers to how much beneficiaries — the people and communities may benefit who are intended either directly or indirectly from the proposed solution — are involved. Two dimensions of inclusivity are depth and frequency. Depth refers to how much the interests and perspectives of the intended beneficiaries are systematically incorporated and reflected in the proposal — from priority setting, planning, solution design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, to ongoing learning. Frequency refers to how often the organization proposing the solution interacts with members of the beneficiary community.
Inclusivity ensures rich and frequent beneficiary involvement in planning, leadership, program design, implementation, and evaluation. Such involvement helps to ensure the proposed solution is considered important and desirable by the affected community, reflects the relevant cultural norms needed for acceptance of the solution, and mitigates the risk of unintentional harm. Ongoing involvement builds trust and promotes knowledge sharing, both of which are important in creating greater equity and sustaining positive change. The most inclusive organizations are led and operated by members of the beneficiary community itself.
Questions to Ask
- How much do beneficiaries shape the proposed solution design, implementation, and and monitoring and evaluation?
- How deeply and frequently does the organization engage intended beneficiaries?
- How well does the organizational model incorporate intended beneficiaries’ input throughout its solution?
The proposal’s solution has been determined by those not from or representative of the intended beneficiary population/ community.
The proposal incorporates the perspective of intended beneficiaries into either its program design, implementation, or evaluation, or some combination of the three. Beneficiary involvement is one-off or infrequent.
The proposal incorporates the perspectives of intended beneficiaries into several dimensions of the proposal (program design, implementation, or evaluation). Beneficiary involvement is moderate.
The proposal incorporates the perspectives of intended beneficiaries into all dimensions of the proposal (program design, implementation, or evaluation). Beneficiary involvement is frequent.
The proposal was designed by members of the intended beneficiary community who oversee and are involvement in all dimensions of the proposal (program design, implementation, or evaluation). Beneficiary involvement is continuous and ongoing at all levels.
How to Score This Element
Under Durability of Power, the highest-scoring proposals (3-4) either have active proximal leadership, or a concrete plan for engaging and developing proximal leadership. A mid-range proposal (2) also communicates a plan for engaging and developing proximal leadership but is less clear on how beneficiaries will eventually exercise power. The lowest-scoring proposals (0-1) either do not incorporate proximal leadership at all, or it is incorporated so minimally that there is no feasible plan for beneficiaries to have increased power or agency for the long term.
While unpaid advisory groups and mentoring programs can contribute beneficiary insights and build proximal leaders, proposals with the greatest chance of reducing structural inequality have proximal leaders at all levels of decision-making, fully participating in the design, planning and implementation of solutions.