How to really measure our Social Impact in Cambodia?
Measuring, monitoring and communicating on our social impact
Artisans Angkor is a social company specialized in Cambodian fine Arts & Crafts, which strives to preserve traditional know-how in handicrafts. Our priority number one, however, is the fair development of local communities - leading to empowerment - and poverty alleviation for the people living in rural areas.
Poverty alleviation in remote rural areas
In that regard, we have been offering vocational trainings and steady job opportunities to young Cambodian people for years. All our profits are also reinvested in social purposes, including free and easy access to healthcare and fair salaries for all our craftsmen and women.
Another important point is that we chose to decentralize our main economic activity in rural workshops (next to the rural villages) so that our artisans can work near their families, and to lower the phenomenon of rural depopulation of the Siem Reap province. It generates economic development for remote rural areas, with better social inclusion as a result.
We also endeavor to help our 800 artisans’ families as much as possible. To give a few examples: in addition to the 3-months compensated maternity leave provided after the childbirth (as requested by Cambodian laws), a compensated maternity leave is provided 15 days before the 9th month. We also provide dietary supplements to artisans’ children under 2 years-old for free. Mothers with children aged from 2 to 5 benefit from a monthly allowance of 5 USD for their child care as well.
But how to assess whether and how this is really helping the beneficiaries (Which means concretely bringing to them a measurable benefit, as compared to populations with similar background who were not enrolled in Artisans Angkor program) ?
A meaningful partnership
Recently, our main concern was the measurement of our social impact indeed: we were lacking accurate indicators to help us analyze its scope. That is why, in August 2017, we partnered with the NGO Planète Urgence, in order to answer the following question: on what indicators should we rely, so that we can see our social impact evolving and think about concrete actions to improve it?
Planète Urgence is a French association who supports projects being implemented in vulnerable contexts, where local people are socially and economically. They sent us a volunteer, whose mission was to create a long term survey to help us see how our social actions were really helping our artisans (direct beneficiaries) and their families/relatives (indirect beneficiaries).
Data collection through a survey campaign
Social impacts include changes in people’s way of life, their culture, community, political systems, environment, health and wellbeing, their personal and property rights and their fears and aspirations.
It can be grouped into 5 overlapping categories:
1. Lifestyle impacts – on the way people behave and relate to family, friends and cohorts on a day-to-day basis
2. Cultural impacts – on shared customs, obligations, values, language, religious belief and other elements which make a social or ethnic group distinct
3. Community impacts – on infrastructure, services, voluntary organizations, activity networks and cohesion
4. Quality of life impacts – on sense of place, aesthetics and heritage, perception of belonging, security and livability, and aspirations for the future
5. Health impacts – on mental, physical and social well-being, although these aspects are also the subject of health impact assessment.
Our volunteer spent three weeks meeting with our artisans in rural workshops, enquiring about how working for Artisans Angkor actually changed their life. After collecting all the data and testimonies, she created the survey.
The survey will be conducted each year, among the artisans from the crafts workshops and silk farm. It is based on what we can call “non-income indicators” and is meant to answer questions regarding the quality of housing (ownership of the house, size, electricity, internet, materials the house was built with), health (health care, pregnancy, child sickness…), education (school enrollment of the children), satisfaction at work, well-being, and so on.
All the indicators we selected correspond to data measured through government statistics and available at provincial or country level. Hence we will be able to compare our results to the situation of comparable population and to assess if the situation of our beneficiaries is really better.
For example, we found out that 98.3% of the artisans children were enrolled in school last year, which is very encouraging.
We are willing to tell you more about our social impact soon! Indeed, being a social enterprise is not just about implementing beautiful actions, but also about analyzing carefully their results, being transparent about them, and constantly trying to get better.