Socal Impact Workshop

Socal Impact Workshop

As Sea Scouts we all have a clear definition in our minds when we talk about ‘sailing’. But ‘Social Impact’ is a less clear subject and everybody might have a different definition of what it means. 

Tomas had us write our own idea of what Social Impact actually means. One idea talked about “political actions that have an impact on scouting”, an other one was ‘positive change on the world’ and yet another said ‘we are all being indirectly influenced by our surroundings and the people we interact with daily. So you could have a social impact on someone right now.’

As scouts we promise to create a better world, but are we? Through our personal actions we have suspicions that we are, but are we really sure? The WOSM working team figured they had to find a way to measure the facts. They are working with the definition of social impact as the following: effect of Scouting activities on individuals and communities. 

Right now they are developing a pilot tool to measure all different kinds of social impact. First being the personal level for example the scouting promise or a long hike. Secondly we are having a social impact on a community level, hopefully we are having a greater impact on the community when they experienced an impact themselves and learned from it. A third level is the institutional level, for example in Belgium the Sea Scouting delegates talk to the naval government to talk about regulations and making it safe for scouts to sail in trafficked water. In Italy the local scout groups talk to local policies and decision making, but the association is also taking a strong standing point in the immigration and refugee discussion. But also individual scouts who in their later careers become involved in decision making institutions as being their job. 

How is impact achieved? We create a project around the needs that provide themselves. Based on those need we do activities and (hopefully) we create positive outputs. The effort of the activities can be registered and the result of these can also be registrated. What the eventual outcome of the project is can also be registered. However, what will the impact be of the outcome? Is the impact for the better and is it long lasting for the greater society? For example scouts cleaning the beach. Sure, the outcome is a clean beach for a while. But what creates the impact? The children will be more aware on producing trash, and there might be people who have seen the scouts cleaning up the beach and might be inspired by their actions. …..

We need to be able to prove that the impact and the change is there because of our Scouting actions. How do we actually know we are achieving impact. We all know we are great in achieving impact on personal experiences and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence. But the other thing is hard data. How could we make that happen?

This particular workshop was followed by 12 participants. They were divided in three groups and were presented with a problem and asked to provide a way of measuring social impact through the solution they came up with. Underneath you will find the notes of those four groups. 

Present work on social impact has a two-fold objective: the development of a measurement tool, and advocacy work on the concept and the importance of taking it into account. There is a strong believe that planning any project or activity taking its further impact into account has a direct positive effect on the quality of said projects and the time and resources ultimately devoted to it.

Thanks to Tomàs Genís Galofré, International Commissioner for the Catalan Federation of Scouting and Guiding and Team member of the WOSM European work group for Social Impact for providing this workshop at Eurosea 14.