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This article focuses on performance measurement in the democracy and governance (DG) programme of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in its Zimbabwe mission. The article tells the story of one qualitative indicator used for measuring progress, namely the ‘Advocacy Index’. It traces the history of this indicator, from rationale and concept through the early stages of implementation. The article discusses the problems of quantitative measurement and observes that there have been a number of suggested ‘qualitative’ responses. It goes on to describe the introduction of the Advocacy Index by the USAID mission and the responses of its Zimbabwean partners, and draws out some tentative lessons and questions raised by the experience.

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