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A New Tool Addresses the Challenge of Measuring CVE Impact

Published On 16 Aug 2018

Hedayah, the International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the world’s oldest independent think tank on international defense and security, and 21Unicorns, a distinguished app developer, with the support of the Government of Canada developed MASAR, a monitoring, measurement and evaluation (MM&E) desktop and smartphone app to project the effectiveness of preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) programs.

H.E. Maqsoud Kruse the Executive Director of Hedayah describes MASAR as “not just a brilliant innovation combining evidence-based approach towards P/CVE with cutting-edge technology for the practitioner. It is, rather, a breakthrough in the measurement of impact of P/CVE programs that can improve implementation, inform policy, and generate empirical knowledge”.

As an interactive tool, MASAR seeks to facilitate the thought process of local NGOs and practitioners in the field of P/CVE to better evaluate the results of their programs. This will enable users to report more effectively to donors on their P/CVE programs and provide them with the necessary tools to show ways they are contributing to the reduction of violent extremism in their contexts.

Emily Winterbotham, Senior Research Fellow at RUSI explains: “The field of Preventing and Combating Violent Extremism (P/CVE) has advanced significantly in recent years. Yet, there is still insufficient evidence about the effectiveness of P/CVE programs. Demonstrating success is particularly difficult in this field: you are essentially trying to prove a negative i.e., those targeted have not joined a violent extremist group – you are trying to prove something that never happened. In order to come up with a far better understanding of ‘what is working’, monitoring and evaluation processes therefore need to be creative, rigorous, and embedded throughout organizations’ project cycles. This is frequently hard and costly, particularly for small organizations. The MASAR app is designed to facilitate this process and it is hoped it will become a valuable tool for many organizations working in the field.”

When users utilize the app fully, MASAR has the ability to think through potential opportunities, barriers and challenges of the program using Theory of Change (ToC) statements. It will enable users to hypothesize various routes to advance their program and as a result, MASAR provides them with the potential outcomes of each.

During soft launch of MASAR’s prototype at the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF) CVE Working Group Workshop on MM&E, one of the participants who tested the app highlighted that it provides “systematic guidelines for designing a program. What steps to be taken, what questions to be asked, what resources will help us.” Additionally, when asked on the usefulness of MASAR for reporting from a donor perspective, a participant indicated that “it looks promising in terms of a structured and supported way to encourage deep thinking about program design before or during the design of reporting.”

MASAR is now available on both iOS and Android smartphones and can also be used on a desktop.

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