Indicators for Programming in Human Rights and Democratic Development: A Preliminary Study

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Ilan Kapoor, Consultant, Loka International

This 33-page document calls itself a study but can serve as a guide to indicator development. Though done in 1996, it an extremely thorough, thoughtful overview of indicator consideration and development. It defines indicators, gives examples of types, and talks of the challenges of measuring difficult areas such as political development. It discusses issues related to indicators in governmental agencies versus NGOs. Most importantly, it makes distinctions between qualitative and quantitative indicators, and highlights the role of what it calls participatory indicators (which are developed by stakeholders and are unique to each project). It states that participatory indicators, while sometimes criticized for being "subjective" and "qualitative," are often the most useful ones because they go beyond mere numbers to incorporate context and reflect local knowledge and creativity. It then offers one approach to developing indicators in the areas of human rights and democratic development, and related policy. In summary, it emphasizes the uniqueness of indicators to specific projects but gives guidance on how to develop them. The Appendix gives sample indicator lists in the areas of human rights and development.

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