What exactly do you do at Habbekrats?

Habbekrats is a professional youth work organisation that offers a combination of leisure, education and assistance with the aim of applying children's rights. We do this in our beautiful, warm homes, which are run for, by and with young people. Young people walk in and out freely and can drop by for anything.

That really is the basis, creating a place where young people like to be. It seems obvious, but it doesn't actually exist that much. And from that place a different story starts. A story where they are the hero, where things are possible, where they are believed in.

We currently offer such a warm home at 15 locations, for a total of 3,000 children and young people. Counted exactly with StreetSmart Impact. There will probably be more every year and thanks to StreetSmart Impact, we will be able to estimate this more accurately from now on.

Why is measuring impact important?

We think measuring our impact is important because we want to know whether what we do actually makes young people stronger. To reflect permanently on how we can best succeed in our organisation's mission: to provide for the basic rights of children on the one hand and offer them opportunities to grow and make them stronger on the other. Because when we succeed in that mission, the whole society benefits.

How does StreetSmart Impact help you do this?

For me, StreetSmart Impact is a good example of how technology can be used for good. Our facilitators are literally among the youngsters and know them personally very well, but until recently we had no visibility on how often we reach which youngsters. StreetSmart Impact has changed that. For the Flemish government, for instance, we map the geographical reach of Habbekrats. We get that data from StreetSmart Impact.

Thanks to StreetSmart Impact, we also know who is in which Habbekrats house and when. That helps us keep an overview in our open drop-in centres. In addition, we can also see at the child's level which parts of our offer they are using, and that helps our team to monitor targets or to follow up which youngsters suddenly stop coming or drop in more often.

Because the entire team uses StreetSmart Impact, our reporting is now standardised and that too is a very big advantage because we can now really work with the recorded data. In short, the tool helps us improve our work.

Why would you recommend StreetSmart Impact to other youth work organisations?

Streetsmart Impact is an interesting tool for mapping your operations, your target audience and your organisation's reach. I think the biggest strength of StreetSmart Impact is its user-friendliness. Everyone learns to work with it very quickly. The tool is logical and easily accessible. It is also convenient that there is an app as well as a web platform. Another strength is that the terminology within StreetSmart Impact can be fully adapted to your organisation.  

Finally, I find it a plus that there are different components. The tool offers many possibilities that we do not currently use.  I think StreetSmart Impact is well structured in that respect too: you start with the basics and around that you can gather more information if you want, both at the child and organisational level. If we want to start following up a specific youngster in more depth, we can do so with the tool. That structure perfectly suits our way of working.

Do you have tips for other organisations looking to get started with StreetSmart Impact?

We first started with a pilot project with part of the team and that worked well for us. The testing allowed us to adapt both the structure of StreetSmart Impact and the terminology to our way of working and still kept the learning cost for the organisation low. Once all the finishing touches were in place, we implemented StreetSmart Impact as a registration tool throughout our operations.

Another tip I can give is that before you start working with a new tool, your staff should have a good understanding of what the added value is for themselves and the youngsters. We regularly show the results of the data input to the whole team and then draw interesting conclusions from them together. This helps to illustrate the added value of   registering our activities.

How do you make your impact visible?

To make your impact visible as an organisation, you need two things: standardised figures and stories. We have many great stories of young people who have made great progress, mainly thanks to themselves and a little bit thanks to Habbekrats. Those stories are more powerful than pure figures, but you need both to back up your impact. Linking strong stories to the size of the group you are reaching can help you properly assess the impact of your organisation.

It is also important to remain aware that we cannot measure everything. At Habbekrats, we regularly organise focus groups, reflection moments with the team,... to discuss things that cannot be poured into one story or exact figures. This is another way we work on our impact.

What are your long-term expectations regarding the use of StreetSmart Impact?

That StreetSmart Impact will help us think more consciously about the things we do and therefore also enable us to make smart decisions.

We also expect that StreetSmart Impact will strengthen the co-ownership and engagement of the team. If each Habbekrats house has clear data at their fingertips, they will be able to see and respond better to what their youngsters need. Each house can very consciously draw its own lines as a co-owner of the Habbekrats project and thus ensure an offer that is perfectly tailored to the youngsters.

In addition, thanks to the use of StreetSmart Impact, we expect not to lose sight of anyone. Thanks to the tool, it will quickly be clear if a young person has not been around for a long time, for example, or we will also detect who we are not yet reaching with our current operations.