Dear colleagues and friends, it is our great pleasure to begin the second half of this year by announcing this new pursuit and inviting you all to be a part of it.
This call is simple but bold: we want you to share experiences that highlight lessons that you have discovered during your evaluation and social participation practice.
We are interested in listening to the voices on the ground; the wisdom that comes from practice. We want to make those roads travelled, those moments of stumbling and finding your feet again, those discoveries and the joy they brought accessible to everyone reading. We want to value the subjectivity of each member of this community and open up a space to share the anecdotes and stories that have come out of your participatory evaluation experiences.
Why meaningful lessons?
Learning is about moving forward and growing, confronting difficulties and obstacles, reflecting on our mistakes and overcoming them. Learning is part of human nature and our instinct to be curious.
“One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning” said James Russell Lowell. Our own experience is one of the best sources we can learn from. Our experiences and critical reflection on both our successes and errors provide us with the best lessons and wisdom that serve us for life.
Meaningful learning is that which is added to knowledge we have already acquired. The wisdom we have gained was fed by discovery, trial and error. The new gets its significance from the way it contrasts, validates or refutes that which we already knew. And from experience, we also generate new wisdom. Often, through the most unlikely processes and situations. In order to learn, we have to explore, discover.
It’s also important to accept that we may make mistakes. “Experience is never a failure because it always comes to show something”, said Thomas Edison. If we want to learn and advance even further, it’s important to capitalise on and share these lessons so they can produce new, better experiences.
Whilst there are many methodologies, tools and a long list of recommendations, not everything works in all places. Working with different people in different contexts and realities produces unique participatory evaluation processes and each situation becomes a valuable source of new lessons. For this reason, we see participatory evaluation practice as fertile ground for reflection and learning.
How can I participate?
Following on from these reflections, we invite you to share the lessons that you have learnt through participatory evaluation experiences. To participate, you can follow these steps:
- Describe the experience and context. Briefly describe the context that you were evaluating, where, when, who was participating etc.
- Highlight the lesson. In what situation was this lesson learnt? Was the lesson learnt as part of a mistake or a success story? Was the lesson related to a specific tool, facilitation moment or other determining factor (context, resource etc.)?
- Draw out the moral or potential application of this new lesson. In order words, if you had to make recommendations to someone based on this lesson, what would you tell them?
- Provide an image. We would like you to include a photograph that shows an example of your fieldwork, a group gathering or activities linked to participatory evaluation (not necessarily directly related to the experience described). Also, if possible, a photograph that documents the specific case/situation (for example, if the lesson came about through a tool, you could share an image that helps us share this tool with others).
- Send the text and images to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This call will remain open permanently. You can access more information and download instructions from the respective section on our page. We look forward to reading your contribution and seeing how it enriches others.
Best wishes from the EvalParticipativa coordination team.