Measuring Impact

At DW, we measure impact at the individual and at the national level.


One of the fundamental indicators of success of our programmes is answering the following question: How many people did we reach and how did we change their lives?

While the question may be simple, seeking the answer is not always the case. Our interventions are taking place within a complex and rapidly changing political, social and economic environment. To filter out how exactly our programmes contribute to people’s improved wellbeing is therefore approached as simplistically as possible. A methodological approach that collects factual data can provide important and useful information. For this we use a web based Geographic Information System (GIS).

Key activities and interventions are mapped regularly by staff and volunteers and uploaded to the DWN GIS information hub:

For example: During the Covid-19 emergency phase, our volunteers and staff mapped each and every one of the 68,000 hand washing facilities (tippy taps) that were set up across the country. The mapping was done as the tippy taps were set up and a central database updated every week. The database helped donors, partners and management to keep close track of progress made and get a holistic understanding of the scope of the project.

Web-based GIS

We currently keep track of key indicators in all our programmes in Namibia, with the same system to be used in our emerging projects in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The following are the mapping indicators per programme:

Land & Housing

  1. Location and number of new residential areas developed by DWN
  2. Status of development of the new residential area
  3. Number of plots sold
  4. Status of house construction on each sold plot


  1. Number of households visited by our volunteers
  2. Number of toilets built by residents themselves as a result of our intervention
  3. Number, location and boundaries of informal settlement areas that become Open Defecation Free (ODF)

Early Childhood Development

  1. Location of each ECD centre that we work with
  2. Key information on each centre, including: number of children; status of sanitation facilities; assistance provided by DWN and others

Benefits of such a GIS based impact monitoring system:

  1. Integrated information flows: Data is collected with cell phone apps in the field and directly uploaded on central databases. An in-house GIS officer monitors data integrity.
  2. Management support: The continuously updated online GIS provides staff easy access to relevant information to support effective monitoring, analysis and decision-making.
  3. Transparency: Public access of project interventions and results through the online information hub allows donors a unique opportunity to appreciate the scale and impact of the programme interventions.


We also closely monitor the broader impact our activities have to contributing to changes in legislation, policy or government programmes.

For example:

Land & Housing: Our intervention in Namibia contributed to the fact that the provision of affordable residential land became a national priority and is now explicitly stated in the President’s 5 year development plan ‘Harambee Prosperity Plan II’.

Sanitation: Our work on sanitation together with partner UNICEF contributed to the fact that our approach ‘’Community Led Total Sanitation’’ is now officially endorsed and supported by government, and also explicitly stated in ‘Harambee Prosperity Plan II’.