Hello friends! Not long now until we have our First Gathering of Participatory Evaluation Experiences for the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, which will take place in Quito, Ecuador from 18 to 22 November 2019.
The motivation behind this gathering is in part the recognition that there already exists a diversity of participatory evaluation experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean. Our open call was widely accepted and we have selected 16 experiences of this type of evaluation which we think reflect the great diversity and richness present in our region.
They include experiences which all, explicitly or implicitly, have a clear transformative intention; experiences which encourage the social action participants (whether in a policy, programme or project) to take a leading role in evaluation. We have invited to this first gathering those who have used their evaluative practice to facilitate these processes and to strengthen and build capacity in organisations.
The general aim of this gathering of experiences is precisely that, to share experiences which are representative of the region.
We are interested in identifying common factors involved in success as well as recurrent problems in methodology; generating shared learning with regard to facilitation processes; and documenting all these processes which are often invisible to evaluators in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Our hope is that this gathering will provide an opportunity to:
- learn from the experiences presented there;
- agree on basic principles and characteristics in a PE process;
- determine the role, skills and attitudes of PE process facilitators;
- share tools which facilitate PE processes.
To achieve these objectives, we have designed a gathering which includes 5 sessions with different thematic focuses, organised over one intense week.
Session 1. Experience Exchange. This activity is the foundation and point of departure for our analysis and reflection on PE throughout the gathering and so will be held at the very beginning. The participants will receive a set of operational instructions beforehand which will help them prepare and communicate in as creative and attractive a way as possible.
Session 2. The ‘what?’ of PE. We will dedicate space to sharing different concepts and approaches from among the vast group of social participation evaluations. However, rather than intend to create a general definition, we want to identify principles and characteristics which we consider key so that evaluation can be considered participatory.
We hope that these principles will be used as referential guidelines for the region. They will, therefore, be created by the participants as they reflect on their own experiences.
Session 3. The ‘how?’ of PE. In this session, we intend to recreate different ways that an evaluation can be conducted. We will begin by identifying and describing a basic method which can be adapted to different contexts and situations.
At each stage, we will reflect on the issues that need to be taken into account to guarantee that multiple stakeholders are given the leading role, identifying approaches and limitations to participation at various stages and moments.
Session 4. How can we facilitate PE processes? The role of the evaluator in social participatory evaluation changes, recreates itself, transforms itself. It is no longer about who evaluates, but rather who facilitates the process to make as many stakeholders as possible protagonists in the intervention and connected evaluation.
We will dedicate a day to working on this ‘new role’ of the evaluator, who now becomes a process facilitator. Each person’s experience will be central to constructing a reference framework for future practitioners of this approach.
Session 5. Unpublished PE tool fair. One of the special features observed in the selected case studies for the gathering is that the majority used innovative instruments, simulation games and participatory techniques which facilitate the involvement of multiple stakeholders.
This session will therefore be a space to exchange and discover tools. We will reflect on their potential and limitations as well as possible ways to adapt them to different contexts, groups etc. Participants will receive a guide on how to select and prepare tools that they will share during this session.
Yes, we know, we are quite ambitious! But we have confidence in the rich sample of experiences, knowledge and motivation from each of our participants selected for this gathering. The gathering will welcome 25 young and not-so-young people with various backgrounds and stories who all share a commitment to and vocation for serving and supporting social transformation processes. We are convinced that each person’s contributions will make this gathering a rich and useful experience for everyone who attends.
In future posts, we will document the gathering and share previous and future developments. We know that not everyone who expressed an interest in participating will be able to do so. And so, we will use this channel to share the lessons with you all.
We will document the gathering here, keeping notes and filming a video of our time. Each of our participants will have the opportunity to share their experience and be part of building this new community of practice and learning for PE. A considerable part of the results, reflections, experiences and testimonies from the gathering will be made into a manual that we hope to create in 2020.
Bye for now from the EvalParticipativa team!