Project Final Report: The Development of Indicators & Assessment Tools for CSO Values-based projects in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

    Research output: Book/ReportProject reportpeer-review


    Project aims
    The primary aim of the ESDinds project was to explore useful indicators which can measure values components of CSO sustainable development projects. These values-based indicators would be designed for use at the project level, and would overlap heavily with organisational values and those of the communities served. Another aim was to involve a further 50+ CSOs with these, to form a new community of interest and, ultimately, of practice.

    Research strategy
    The ESDinds project was characterised by CSOs and academia working in partnership to produce practical and useful indicators. The research design involved an iterative, participatory approach to the development of indicators and assessment tools.

    Final outcomes

    1. A set of values-based indicators with broad practical utility. The final outcome of the project is a set of 166 values-based indicators, now acknowledged to be applicable to multiple values. They can be described as indicators of `shared values in use’, rather than espoused values. The indicators have already been adopted by diverse CSOs and businesses, and there are opportunities for their application in other arenas, such as faith communities, educational institutions, indigenous communities, family or relationship counselling, and the health sector.

    2. An open-access web platform. The indicators and related assessment tools have been disseminated very widely through a free, open-access web platform, entitled ‘WeValue’ (, which is estimated to have been viewed by more than 20,000 people. Almost 100 organizations, including non-profit CSOs, businesses, faith groups and educational institutions, have engaged actively with the project by creating a profile on the web platform.

    3. Transforming policy and practice in real organisations. At least eight CSOs are known to have incorporated ESDinds indicators into their internal monitoring and evaluation systems, and some of these have also influenced their affiliates or donors. We have also observed that the use of ESDinds values-based indicators can catalyse significant and sustainable organisational development, especially when participatory methods are used.

    4. Accessible handbooks. The content from the web platform, which includes all 166 indicators detailed information on assessment methods, is available in PDF and Word formats. A separate 40-page ‘WeValue Toolkit’ entitled Understanding and Evaluating the Intangible Impacts of your Work has also been produced and disseminated to a wide audience.

    5. An international conference and sustainable community of practice. A three-day conference was held at the University of Brighton in December 2010 and a dynamic community of practice has emerged as a result, with a special interest group focusing on applying the indicators in schools in the UK and Ireland.
    Original languageEnglish
    Commissioning bodyEuropean Commission
    Number of pages44
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


    • ESDinds
    • WeValue
    • values-based indicators
    • sustainability indicators
    • participatory evaluation


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