A Constant Quest for Quality

by Nicole Duciaume, Regional Sponsorship Coordinator, ChildFund Americas

To some degree, we’re all looking for quality in our lives — quality in our personal relationships, in our work/life balance, in our academic or spiritual studies. We are seeking value in what we do, who we are and in the legacy we leave behind.

Photo of focus group materials

Getting ready for a focus group.

ChildFund takes this quest for quality out to the field and into focus group discussions with children, youth, parents, volunteers, community leaders, partner organizations and our own staff.

In a constant effort to improve the quality of our programs and our stewardship of sponsorship resources, ChildFund has defined what we believe are the essential factors to ensure program quality. We invest in programs that

  • involve children, youth and key stakeholders in a meaningful way
  • respond to the real needs of deprived, excluded and vulnerable children and youth in a sustainable way
  • follow sound designs that address the existing evidence base
  • reach children effectively
  • improve through continuous monitoring and results measurement
  • adapt to culture and context effectively
  • produce the intended positive outcomes for children and youth.

But how do we know all of these things are actually happening? Well, we ask.

Photo of children in group

Talking directly with children.

We ask children what they like or don’t like about our programs. We ask youth about their future goals and how ChildFund can support them. We ask parents about their awareness of resources and programs available for their children. We ask our volunteers about the way we recognize their contributions. We ask community leaders how we can best work together to create sustainable change. We ask our partners which practices and systems promote learning and skill building. And we ask ourselves which policies move us closer to our strategic vision and organizational mission.

We ask a lot of questions in the field because we ask a lot of ourselves as individuals and as an organization.

A small group of ChildFund staff from Bolivia, Brazil, Panama and the U.S. were in Guatemala last week acting as external consultants and holding multiple discussion groups in several communities and at the national office. We were on a quest for quality.

Next: Our discoveries.

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