Measurement is both a central concern of community-based organizations, and key to communication with the outside world. Developing data management systems that are both manageable for the organizations and are inclusive of the values that they seek to sustain is a major challenge—and an important part of IMAGO’s work.

A domain of particular interest to the organization concerns the measurement of agency, empowerment and collective organization. This involves a deep inquiry into authentic impact, whilst also generating measures that can be tracked and aggregated. A note on a significant existing strand of the measurement effort is listed below. While measures such as these are increasingly used in survey work, this is still an area of exploration in the field. At present the state-of-the-art is to use operational definitions present in research and then conduct a reverse innovation approach to adapt these constructs to better fit the target cultural context. Such practices, from more an action research orientation, are relative novel and require true immersion into communities to be effective.

Concepts and Measures of Agency, Empowerment, and Related Issues