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A Manual to assess the impacts of social innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural development

In recent years, the European Union has increasingly embraced social innovation as a mean to tackle numerous social, economic and environmental challenges that neither government nor market could solve directly. Globalisation and loss of small economic activities, population ageing, migration, biodiversity loss, are just some of the key issues which have increasingly been addressed by social innovators. Despite all this attention, social innovation remains widely defined and lacks a common evaluative framework.

Evaluation is fundamental for policy makers and practitioners in supporting, designing and implementing programmes and projects. For this reason, the EU-funded H2020 SIMRA project (Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas, 2016-2020) developed an Evaluation Manual to better understand social innovation dynamics, disentangling their impacts on the economy, society, environment and institutions, and designing appropriate interventions.

Co-constructed by scientists and stakeholders, the Manual is thought to assist evaluators, practitioners, policy makers and scientists, in this task and it offers a full guidance on how to use, interpret and report results of the evaluation.

At the end of the document, you will be able to answer to the following questions:

  • What factors have affected the development of the Social Innovation initiative?
  • What factors have made the Social Innovation initiative successful (or not)?
  • What are the effects and impacts of the Social Innovation initiative?
  • What can be changed that would make it more successful (e.g. having better impacts on the environment, economy, society and governance/institutions)?
  • What were the constraining and facilitating factors, including context, agents and policy questions?
  • What can be highlighted to individuals or groups engaging in Social Innovation initiative in marginalised rural areas (lessons learned) that might help those projects thrive?

For more information on how to implement a social innovation in rural areas, you can also have a look at SIMRA’s practice guide, which will easily guide you through the 7 key steps of success and you can have a look at all SIMRA’s results.

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26 May 2020

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