Every year, the OAD funds around 15-20 projects with the total grant amounting to roughly €110,000. As a global coordinating office located in Cape Town, we depend on project leaders and coordinators to supply us with all the information on project activities. We need this data for:
- Accountability: It helps us know accurately where and how the money was utilized and report back to our funders.
- Impact analyses: We can use the reported information to determine the projects’ value to the community. The better the data, the more accurate our analyses.
- Resources sharing: This information is invaluable to future projects, both OAD projects and others. This will enable others to understand better the conditions, complexities, and challenges of running such projects as well as adapt/reuse these resources.
- Partnerships and funding: These details of the project environment (context) and the activities will help us make a more compelling case for approaching relevant new partners and funders, especially those not traditionally linked to astronomy.
The OAD will always endeavour to keep the workload of reporting to a minimum and make it as easy as possible for the project leaders to provide us with the information necessary to achieve the above objectives.
What information do we need?
- Summary of the project that we can place on the website and use in our various communication channels and mediums, both online and offline. This summary will also be (edited appropriately and) shared on other IAU channels.
- Project team: composition of the team including the background, experience, role, and contact information (with due consent) of each team member. Considering that OAD projects are development interventions, we encourage multi-disciplinary teams.
- Partnerships: Name, short description, and role of organizations and individuals with whom the project partnered
- Location details: In addition to the country and city, some background on the specific location of the intervention will provide us an idea of the value of the project.
- Target audience: The audience targeted is central to every OAD project. So details of this audience is probably the most valuable information. This includes, but not limited to, the total number of people reached, age/educational profiles (toddlers and very young children, school students, university students, adults), professional profiles (teachers, academics, government/policy makers), socio-economic profiles, and the number of people in each category.
- Activities/Interventions: For each activity or intervention, details of what (brief description of activity), where (venue), when (number of hours), who (attended).
- Deliverables: list of deliverables produced by the project and how does it compare to the expected deliverables outlined in the proposal.
- Outcomes: what changes were realised by the project and how do they compare to the expected outcomes outlined in the proposal. Realistically, no project is expected to successfully achieve all of its planned outcomes. Rather, such a comparison can be highly beneficial to improve future project plans.
- Deviations from the original project implementation – changes in project plan, timeline, duration, location, audience etc.
- Challenges faced during the project and how you were able to resolve them
- Self evaluation: Recommendations for improving the quality/implementation/impact of the project based on the lessons learned.
- Feedback and Evaluation: Projects are highly encouraged to obtain feedback from the participants of activities. This feedback is the only (external) indication of the success of the project and thus is extremely valuable. Where possible, OAD can support projects that want to run an evaluation (which is different from feedback collection and provides precise indication of project success). More information on surveys and evaluation.
- Suggestions/Recommendations to the OAD for expanding the project both locally and to other parts of the world (if applicable).
- Sustainability: Plans to continue the project beyond OAD funding, if applicable.
- Financial data: A breakdown of the expenses and an explanation of any deviations from the proposed budget. This data should cover the finances of the whole project during the period (not just for the amount provided by the OAD). This will help us understand the project finance in its full context.
- Copies of associated invoices/receipts to support the financial report.
- Resources: Link to the resources produced specifically for this project that we can share with others e.g. presentations, lectures, videos, posters, worksheets, questionnaires, manuals etc.
- Communications and PR: Details of website, social media and other online presence such as blogs, videos, press releases, news articles, documentaries. Projects are also requested to regularly share short snippets via email for PR purposes.
- Photos and videos from the project that can be used for PR
- Feedback on OAD project coordination and management to help us improve our processes
Projects are encouraged to take note of the following factors that may be considered as indirect positive benefits:
- Health and well-being:
- did the activity inspire or “awe” the community?
- did the activity help participants feel relaxed ?
- did the project bring people together?
- Economic value:
- did the activity spend some portion of the budget sourcing supplies and services locally? If so, how much (in Euros)?
- did the project attract visitors from outside the locality? how many? Think of possible ways this could have benefitted the local community – did they inspire students, did they reach out to the public, did they add economic value etc.
- Youth and human capital formation:
- how difficult was getting young people to attend the events/activities?
- from your assessment, was there any change in the perception of astronomy/science among the people, especially youth, after the project?
- Health and well-being:
When do we need this information?
- Mid-project update: Since OAD projects officially start in the beginning of the calendar year (when grants are sent in February), this update is due in the middle of the year (around July). Only some of the above details maybe applicable to this update.
- End-of-project reporting: Typically in the first quarter of the next calendar year. According to the agreement projects sign with the OAD, final reporting information is to be submitted 30 days after the completion of the project. In most cases, this date is extended upto 60 days after project completion as we understand that our projects are run by volunteers with little spare time. But we do request that the OAD is informed as soon as the project activities are completed. We also encourage projects to collect and keep track of the above requested data during the project.
How can you submit this information?
Earlier, we used to request every project to send in their reports in PDF/ document format. Although many of these reports contain a wealth of information, variabilities in the reports made it quite difficult for us to analyse them. Hence we are standardising our data collection through the use of online forms. The link to the forms will be shared with the project leaders at the above mentioned times.
If, for any reason, you are unable to access or use the online form, do contact us for an offline equivalent.
- We request projects to keep the lines of communication open throughout the duration of the project. In addition to the mid-year and end-of-year reporting, we encourage projects to keep us updated of important milestones. You can just send a short email or link to let us know of what is happening. We can also share announcements from projects (on our email lists, newsletters, social media etc.)
- We will aim to keep bureaucracy to a minimum. Do not hesitate to contact us for questions and assistance at any point in the project.