Since its creation in 1940 Progressio has sought to bring hope to those most vulnerable in the world and to champion peace for people facing conflict. The nature of its activities has changed over the years, but the heart of the organisation has always been to share skills at the grassroots level, to empower people, and to give them the skills and knowledge they need to bring about real and lasting change in their own lives.

Since the International Citizen Service (ICS) programme began in 2012, Progressio identified the need to gather an evidence base for its methodological approach, strengthening its credibility within the sustainable development sector. With the ICS work funded by the British government and the ongoing shift towards a value-for-money agenda within the broader international development arena, Progressio recognised the need to demonstrate its impact and highlight its unique contribution to the sector.

Jigsaw was invited to undertake an impact study of Progressio’s activities in Malawi in order to identify the strengths of the organisation’s ICS approach, specifically identifying the impact of youth-led development. The impact study had two overarching aims:

  • To increase understanding of how ICS volunteers have contributed to the fulfilment of Progressio’s aims.
  • To provide evidence of the impact of youth volunteering within Progressio’s work.

The methodology of the impact study incorporated three core elements: desk-based research, data gathering through ICS alumni in Malawi, and a five-day visit by a Jigsaw consultant. The study identified many positive aspects of Progressio’s programming and highlighted the strengths of its unique approach, while also pinpointing areas for improvement and learning.

We worked with Progressio to unpack the learning captured in the impact study and help articulate the impact of voluntary youth-led development. To aid this process we developed three case studies demonstrating the impact of the young ICS volunteers in Malawi. This resource will help highlight Progressio’s unique contribution to the sector and provide further evidence of its impact that can be used in communications with donors and supporters.

"Jigsaw offered us a great combination of technical expertise, a flexible approach and established support systems, which resulted in a well-considered report that met our needs. Matt was able to respond flexibly to the shifting availability of in-country resources and still deliver a high-quality product on time." - Stuart Malcolm, ICS programme manager, Progressio