Around this date, just one year ago, EvalParticipativa opened its doors for the first time. And ever since, there has been much interest and many participatory evaluation experiences carried out in the region. EvalParticipativa invited us to connect, contribute our knowledge and keep learning together.
If you have time to look through and re-read, you will see that the first blog post on the page invited us to do just that, get involved. And the response, your response, was outstanding!
Whilst it is true that the initiative began with 4 or 5 organisations that were already committed to contributing, the number of people who participate in the forum, follow our publications or interact through social networks has continued to increase.
Today the page is followed by 176 people from 18 countries and it has been visited by 20 million visitors during its first year. Furthermore, the virtual forum has 92 subscribers. And it even became clear that it was not enough to only publish in our mother tongue! EvalParticipativa had to learn English so it could also share knowledge further afield from Latin America.
Our library has also grown. The resources section has already got 72 publications available digitally; 42 dedicated principally to the “what” and “how” of participatory and collaborative approaches to evaluation and 30 dedicated exclusively to tools or instruments to facilitate participatory processes. The section on sharing specific documented experiences of evaluation has also grown and features multiple instances of social participation. We have already recorded and published 8 case studies which detail the methodologies used, lessons learnt and success stories as well as the difficulties faced and future challenges. These publications have been possible due to joint collaboration and clearly show the breadth of knowledge on the topic in the region.
Because as you already know, Evalparticipativa does not only invite us to contribute but also to learn. If a space is created that brings together the best experts on participatory evaluation, how could you not make the most of it? And this is how our community began.
Even in the first few weeks, we benefited from rich reading material and experiences on issues related to participatory evaluation. And all these mails have been carefully ordered by topic and can be consulted at any time in our News section.
The First Gathering of Participatory Evaluation Experiences which brought many of you together in Quito, enabled us to reflect deeply on many of the topics shared in the forum and set in place foundations for knowledge to be generated from within the community itself. 25 people attended and shared their knowledge and input. All this is currently being turned into a handbook and a course which will allow us to share even more widely the valuable knowledge inherent to this community.
Get involved, learn and share. This is what we were busy doing when we suddenly realised it was our first birthday. And this is what we will continue to do because we have only just started.
Many of us are going through dark and difficult times which threaten celebrations of any type. But it is precisely this threat that has encouraged us to congratulate ourselves with even more enthusiasm as our community is an example of an initiative bursting with life, hope and a future.
So, happy birthday EvalParticipativa… and here’s to many more in the years to come!