The year 2020 will turn, without a doubt, into a watershed year for multiple and diverse realities. While we are still in the middle of the pandemic, in contexts characterised by huge incertainties, it is a good moment to reflect on the reality of evaluation in general and participatory evaluation in particular, especially in this long and extended moment that we are living through. This reflection often goes hand in hand with the (re)planning of activities and objectives that have been disrupted and troubled by lockdowns, illness and financial crisis.
The most diverse social intervention initiatives (projects, programmes etc.) have been affected and several organisations have had to create or rethink guides and guidelines to accompany a new evaluation agenda. A quick search comes up with updated reports from UNDP, a series of posts from the World Bank evaluation office, recommendations on monitoring, evaluation and learning within the framework of USAID, UNODC guides for evaluation during the Covid 19 crisis, ONU Women and their pocket tool for managing evaluation during the pandemic, Siempro (Argentina) and its guide for public policy evaluation in situations of social isolation, proposals from BetterEvaluation to adapt evaluation to Covid 19 times, etc.
As can be seen, reflection on what could or should be done has not been lacking in the field of evaluation since the start of the pandemic. However, there are two gaps in the discussion that we have detected and which seem relevant to us.
One refers to what is being done effectively in evaluation in this context (beyond the guides and various suggestions).
The other gap to be covered is linked to our community of practice and learning’s specific interest, what impact the pandemic is having on participatory evaluation practice.
We want to invite you to think about these gaps in the debate and reflection and add your perspectives, knowledge and concerns in the comments below. We may have more questions to add but hopefully we will go beyond asking questions to at least venture to suggest plausible hypotheses as responses.
Well that’s your invitation, now let’s debate…!
Pablo Rodríguez Bilella I EvalParticipativa Team Coordinator.