Social Impact assessment

Elly M By Elly M, 20th Sep 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Community

As to standard definition Social Impact Assessment (SIA) includes the processes of analyzing, monitoring and managing the intended and unintended social consequences, both positive and negative, of planned interventions (policies, programs, plans, projects) and any social change processes invoked by those interventions.

Social Impact Assessment in relation to program monitoring and evaluation

To predict what the probable impact of development will be, there is a need to seek to understand the past behavior of individuals and communities affected by agency actions, development, or policy changes. There is the use of a comparative SIA method during the monitoring and evaluation to study the course of events in a community where the program has been implemented, and extrapolate from that analysis what is likely to happen in another community where a similar development or policy change is planned.

The social impact assessment itself should contain the ten steps including;
1. Public involvement by developing an effective public plan to involve all potentially affected publics while monitoring the programs.
2. Identification of alternatives - Describe the proposed action or policy change and reasonable alternatives in case the intended results are not achieved.
3. Baseline conditions - Describe the relevant human environment/area of influence and baseline conditions while carrying out monitoring and evaluation.
4. Scoping – this comes from a technical understanding of the proposal to be able to identify the full range of probable social impacts to be addressed based on discussion or interviews with numbers of all potentially affected people in the community.
5. Projection of estimated effects - Investigate the probable impacts depending on the impacts found out during the first monitoring and evaluation phase.
6. Predicting responses to impacts - Determine the significance to the identified social impacts that were found out during monitoring and evaluation.
7. Indirect and cumulative impacts - Estimate subsequent impacts and cumulative impacts.
8. Changes in alternatives - Recommended new or changed alternatives and estimate or project their consequences that are likely to occur as the program is still running.
9. Mitigation - Develop a mitigation plan.
10. Monitoring – Develop a monitoring program.

Principles for Social Impact Assessment according to The Inter-organizational Committee on Guidelines and Principles for Social Impact Assessment, (1994)
1. Involve the diverse public – Identify and involve all potentially affected groups and individuals because the program is ideally made for them.
2. Analyze impact equity – Clearly identify who will win or who will lose, and emphasize vulnerability under-represented groups.
3. Focus the assessment – Deal with issues and public concerns that really count, not those that are just easy to count.
4. Identify methods and assumptions and define significance – Describe how the SIA is conducted, what assumptions are used and how significance is determined.
5. Project planners – Identify problems that could be solved with changes to the proposed action or alternatives during the monitoring and evaluation process.
6. Use SIA practitioners – Trained social scientists employing social science methods will provide the best results.
7. Establish monitoring and mitigation program – Manage uncertainty by monitoring and mitigation adverse impacts.
8. Identify data source – Published scientific literature, secondary data, and primary data from the affected area.
9. Plan for gaps in data

Specific challenges for the field of Social Impact Assessment during program monitoring and evaluation process include best practices are not standardized, theories of change need to be aligned among grantors, investors, and nonprofits, value cannot always be measured, quality implementation is essential, time horizons for output and outcome measurement are long, significant diversity exists within each field, reporting requirements are usually not aligned, goals are often unclear, inconsistent funding priorities, trust and mutuality are limited.


Social Development, Social Sciences, Social Security, Social Service, Socialising, Socialism

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author avatar Elly M
Tours and Travel Consultant as well as community development specialist

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