“Frameworkers” and “Circlers” – Exploring Assumptions in Impact Assessment




Neufeldt, Reina C.

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Berghof Foundation


This chapter explores two contending constituencies and their arguments about why and how to identify impact in peacebuilding initiatives in practice. The two constituencies, “frameworkers” and “circlers”, involve sets of people who blend across the lines of development and conflict transformation work and possess very different arguments about how to conceptualize and operationalize issues of impact and change in program design, monitoring and evaluation. The differences matter in a practical sense for workers in international and national NGOs because their views often clash during program design, monitoring and evaluation processes, and leave both sides dissatisfied. These differences also hinder people’s ability to talk clearly about impact and change, what matters, how people “know what they know” about impact and change and, therefore, how they do their peacebuilding work. The premise of the chapter is that by unmasking the conceptual debates, peacebuilders can improve their ability to speak about and achieve effectiveness and impact. After outlining the two basic constituencies, frameworkers and circlers, and a review of the current status of peacebuilding monitoring and evaluation, the author examines how tensions between the two approaches provide insights into the underlying issues that need to be addressed. The chapter concludes with examples of ways that peacebuilding or other social change-orientated programs have adapted to bridge the positions in practice and identify practices that can strengthen particular areas that are currently under-developed and can benefit program design.



Monitoring and Evaluation, Program Design, Conflict Transformation