The tools, on their own, do not make the difference

by Dagny Skarwan

The need to carry out an evaluation in order to discover what results have been achieved by an intervention is appreciated by organisations, projects and the teams responsible for implementing them. In turn, monitoring is often linked to accountability, generally through a weekly or annual report.

Moreover, in the field of NGOs, monitoring is usually understood as reporting activities, in other words, accounting for everything that has been done, within a set period, in relation to the operational plan.

Even when projects have a logical framework or results matrix, and even when they have developed a theory of change, it is not unusual for organisations and local teams to be surprised by the instruments they come across when they start getting involved in participatory monitoring of outcomes and impacts. In this type of monitoring, I usually help teams reflect on how outcomes are measured, how impacts can be recognised and measured, and -from there- recognise the different contributions of the project. Questions also arise concerning the purposes of monitoring that go beyond the need of a project coordinator to provide accountability, and include questions such as where to start when monitoring a project and how to know when it is the right moment to do so.

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by Julia Espinosa Fajardo

In participatory evaluation, people and their diverse needs are put at the centre of evaluation processes, and consequently, public policies and programmes. The active inclusion of the different voices throughout the whole evaluative exercise opens up a space to highlight the violation of rights, processes of social exclusion and the structural inequalities that exist in each context.

In this sense, it is an opportunity to make visible the different situations of discrimination and vulnerability, and move towards public actions that address these realities to a greater extent and have more transformative power. In this way, participation in evaluation is a key aspect in the process of deepening democracy and ensuring rights, while at the same time, leaving no one behind.

What does EvalParticipativa reveal to us about the Latin American experience in this regard? How can we promote evaluation practices that have a positive impact on rights, inclusion and equity? What challenges are posed in the region?

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A Participatory Process in the New Methodology for Spanish Cooperation Country Partnership Framework Evaluation

The Country Partnership Framework, hereafter CPF, (MAP in Spanish) is the tool used by Spanish Cooperation, hereafter SC, for bilateral geographic strategic planning to ensure that SC actions contribute to sustainable development. Through the CPFs, dialogue is established between SC and the partner countries to benefit the development strategies and plans of these countries.

With this tool, the SC contributes to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and in particular, SDG 17 Partnership for the Goals, promoting synergies and building partnerships at all levels, both with the partner country and among the SC actors. The CPF seeks to obtain a strategic, global and coherent vision of the Spanish Cooperation as a whole, and seeks to avoid merely compiling a list of interests held by the different actors. It is precisely the strategic approach that differentiates this tool and provides an interesting added value to CPF evaluation.

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Dear colleagues, we are thrilled to announce that the winners of the EVALPARTICIPATIVA AWARD FOR ACADEMIC PRODUCTION have been selected.

We put out the call for papers at the end of 2021 with the aim of deepening academic and scientific knowledge concerning participatory evaluation as part of a wider approach of inclusive evaluation that is relevant to the 2030 Agenda.

The call was open for four months, during which time we received a variety of theoretical and empirical papers. Most of the papers prioritised an empirical approach, providing new elements for action-based reflection on participatory evaluation approaches, addressing case studies or comparing initiatives developed in the region.

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Humble Evaluations: the evaluator role and attitude in Participatory Evaluation

by Silva Ferretti

The stereotype evaluator is an expert. S/he can capture, scientifically, what doesn’t work in a program. S/he can provide wise recommendations to fix issues… and manager shall respond to them! It is a position of professional authority.

The whole evaluation system pushes evaluators and their commissioner to conform to this stereotype. It seems convenient that, at some point in time, the expert can come in, validate a program and provide the right recommendations and solutions to improve it.

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Under the slogan “Working towards the Sustainable Development Goals through participatory research and evaluation empowering the Latin American and Caribbean community“, the Center for Public & Nonprofit Management at University of Central Florida, USA, is organising the first PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH AND EVALUATION CONFERENCE (PAREC).

The conference, to be held on 21 April 2022, in a virtual and fully bilingual format (Spanish & English), will bring prominent panelists and speakers from various organisations that, like EvalParticipativa, have collaborated with its organisation and design.

The main objectives are:

  • to establish connections and networking between students, academics and practitioners from North America, Latin America and the Caribbean to promote collaborative discussion and research on participatory evaluation and empowerment issues;
  • to exchange unique participatory evaluation concepts and applications in the Latin American and Caribbean region as “promising or evidence-based practices”; and
  • to generate and systematize knowledge and documents through the information produced at the conference.


All information about the conference, sessions, panelists and presentations, as well as biographies of speakers and participating organisations are available on the official PAREC 2022 website.

For the EvalParticipativa community, we have 30 participation grants available. To apply for them, in addition to being convinced that you are able to participate during the whole event, you need to fill in this form.

This conference is a valuable opportunity to learn and share knowledge about the values and standards of participatory evaluation, theoretical frameworks and methods, and practical applications and experiences. We look forward to your participation!



Community Ownership in Evaluation. The Experience of Asia Pacific Evaluation Association (APEA)

by  Rituu B. Nanda & Randika de Mel

Let us join hands EvalParticipativa! Greetings from India!

Congratulations on the brilliant work you have been doing on promoting participation of communities in evaluation.

We are of the Asia Pacific Evaluation Association (APEA) action group on Community Ownership in Evaluation. We held an online Consultation in July 2021 in which 90 people participated from different parts of the world to create awareness of the importance of strengthening community ownership in evaluation and to develop an action plan for community ownership in evaluation in the Asia Pacific Region.

The highlight was participation of communities in the consultation. Two indigenous youth from India (supported by Faith Foundation) accepted the Evaluation torch. A young youth leader presented her experience in girl-led research from EMpower.

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gLOCAL Evaluation Week 2022

We invite you to be part of the gLOCAL Evaluation Week 2022.

The gLOCAL Evaluation Week (”gLOCAL”), is an annual dedicated week for Monitoring and Evaluation (“M&E”) knowledge and experience sharing events around the globe, was launched in 2019. In the short time since gLOCAL was launched, organizing partners from around the world have hosted nearly 1000 M&E focused events across five continents in multiple languages. During gLOCAL, government officials, evaluation practitioners, academics and researchers, and students, among many others, have joined this global movement to discuss M&E issues, connecting with one another to share their knowledge and experiences in this field.

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Evaluating 15 years of Experiencia Sur

by Belén Rodríguez Navas & Juan José Clavaín Nuño

Entreculturas is a Jesuit-sponsored international cooperation NGO that works to promote justice and social transformation. It defends education as a human right and upholds the right to a dignified life for migrants and refugees. It also seeks to construct committed global citizenship, gender equality and the reconciling of humans with nature. It seeks to contribute to the development of the most vulnerable communities, appealing to values such as solidarity and equal rights, and involving all types of stakeholders (citizens, companies, governments etc.) that share the responsibility of tackling these global challenges.

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How to ensure that all voices are heard. Predefined criteria vs. stakeholder questions in evaluation

by Laura Porrini

For a while now, I have been pondering some key aspects that, in my experience, shape Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) practice in the Global South. It is within this context that I have decided to set out some ideas that could be incorporated into practice criteria. One of the ideas that I have focused on is the existing tension between the increasingly felt need to ensure that all voices are heard in the evaluation process and predefined evaluation criteria, both in terms of their content and use.

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