It is crucial for us to measure the social impact of the project and understand if we are achieving our goals – to integrate immigrants, to empower individuals and communities, to break down prejudice and misconceptions and to promote greater understanding and cooperation between cultures.

Measuring Social Impact of SPEAK Leiria – 1st Semester 13′

In this post, we present a summary of the results we have obtained in our assessment of the success of SPEAK Leiria in the first semester of 2013.

SPEAK SOCIAL participants were asked to fill out an anonymous survey at the beginning of the semester, and the same survey again at the end. Our goal was to compare the results from the beginning and end of the semester regarding three main dimensions:

  • Integration levels of the participants
  • To what extent was cultural diversity important to SPEAK participants
  • Culture diversity awareness

The survey measured the level of agreement of the participants with 8 statements, which they were asked to rate on a scale of 1 (totally disagree) to 9 (totally agree). Below we present these statements and the average result obtained for each statement at the end of the semester, as well as the variance (%) when compared to the results obtained in the beginning of the semester.

  1. I know well the communities from different origins and nationalities that live in Leiria. 5,2 [+29%]
  2. The population of Leiria is highly diverse in terms of languages and cultures. 6,6 [+15%]
  3. I feel fully integrated in Leiria, having a group of friends as large and close to me as I could ever aspire to have. 6,4 [+15%]
  4. My group of friends in Leiria is highly diverse in terms of languages and cultures. 4,9 [+13%]
  5. I feel I have total understanding of the languages and cultures of the people I interact with that have a different background than mine. 4,9 [+18%]
  6. It’s very important for me to socialize with people with languages and cultures that are different from mine. 7,6 [-7%]
  7. I feel that my language is fully understood and valued by Leiria’s population. 8,5 [+45%]
  8. I don’t have any language barriers whatsoever in my daily routine in Leiria. 8,2 [+30%]

Our Social Impact Survey, depicted in Figure 1. shows SPEAK’s participants level of agreement regarding the 8 statements we presented. Particularly relevant for this analysis is to understand the variance of the answers obtained during the first week of classes with the answers obtained during the last week of classes (i.e. 5-month period).

impact_leiria_1st_semester_bFigure 1. SPEAK SOCIAL IMPACT SURVEY


On average, the level of agreement with the statements increased 20% in a 5-month period.

We find this to be a positive indicator, since the statements convey messages of integration, multicultural appreciation and awareness regarding diversity.

Only for statement number 6 – “It’s very important for me to socialize with people with languages and cultures that are different from mine” – we recorded a negative variation. Even so, the level of agreement obtained for this statement (7,6) was still higher than the average result in the answers gathered at the end of the semester (7).

At the end of the semester, two extra statements were added in order to assess SPEAK participants’ perception on the project social mission:

  1. SPEAK SOCIAL is a project with great social merit.
  2. SPEAK SOCIAL greatly contributes to the integration of communities of different origins and cultures.

Answers for questions 9 and 10  averaged 8,7 and 8,5 respectively, which reinforces the idea that SPEAK fulfills its social mission, according to its participants. Furthermore, when asked whether they would recommend SPEAK to family and friends, 98% of participants answered ‘Yes’, while 2% answered ‘Maybe’.

Figure 3. Perceived Social Merit & Satisfaction

Final Thoughts

It is with great joy that we now share these results with our stakeholders. The aforementioned results indicate that SPEAK played an important towards the perceived inter-cultural awareness of its participants. At the same time, the participants recognized the social merit of project as a vehicle of integration and promotion of diversity.

These results come to prove that hard-work, passion and engagement are key ingredients to success when trying to change the world. They will most definitely motivate our team to stay fully committed and enthusiastic in order to face all the challenges that will eventually arise.


Author: Daniela Sousa

Daniela is a volunteer at SPEAK – she is trying to write us the amazing stories that happen in SPEAK. She loves cats, books, cookies and Japanese.

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