The initiative has envisaged a series of activities to be run together with various stakeholders in 2019 and 2020. However, it is important to point out that this is only the first stage. Our expectation is that Evalparticipativa will consolidate itself over time as a place to gather and exchange experiences. We believe that this initiative responds to a gap in the field and we trust that many people linked to this issue will find support and answers to their concerns here. We hope that this community of practice and learning will be pursued, constantly reinvent itself and remain active long after these initial activities.
To begin, we have formed four main groups of activities, intimately related to each other, which will be described below. It goes without saying that new activity proposals are more than welcome as they emerge from the collective linked to these topics.
1. Participatory Evaluation Experiences
In the field of project and programme evaluation in Latin America and the Caribbean, there are several experiences, albeit with different nuances and tools, which have aimed to value and assess their interventions using a participatory approach. There are many promotion teams, beneficiary organisations and support agencies who often reflect on evaluative practices, their advantages and limitations, what they contribute and the possibility to replicate them elsewhere. However, this knowledge is rarely documented, analysed, formalised and systematically shared with the intention of moving beyond the local, practical level to gain a deeper, more enriched reflection across the region on these types of evaluations.
As one of its first activities, Evalparticipativa will issue an open invitation to the whole region for documented participatory evaluation experiences that can be shared within the Community of Practice and Learning framework. We will review the experience’s reports, written and audiovisual materials; documentation on the use of results and the effects on organisations concerned; preliminary interviews of key stakeholders in these processes etc. We want to learn from these experiences, document them and share them in this space.
We have also decided to hold the first Latin America and the Caribbean Gathering for Participatory Evaluation Experiences. Its objective will be to share experiences, identify common factors in recurrent successes and problems in methodology, and construct shared learning around facilitation processes in order to be able to document all these processes which are often invisible to evaluators in the region. The forum, whose place and date is to be defined, will gain from the participation of colleagues who have been closely involved in managing valuable experiences of participatory evaluation. Shortly, we will issue an open invitation for key stakeholders who want to participate in this forum (evaluators, those responsible for evaluated programmes, local facilitators) to send their cases and experiences for consideration.
2. Manual and audiovisuals on participatory evaluation
One of the core activities of the project will be to publish a book in the style of a manual on participatory evaluation. For this purpose, we will use projects that the team has experienced in addition to ones already published and contributions and reflections from as many people that are motivated to share them. The idea is to generate a useful manual for the region which represents the collective thoughts, feelings and lessons learned from as many colleagues as possible that are interested in the topic.
This manual will initially include the following sections: 1. What is participatory evaluation? Principles, concepts, types of evaluation approaches which integrate social participation, etc. 2. How to implement Participatory Evaluation processes, The process/method, variants depending on the type of intervention, available time and resources, etc. 3. Tools for participatory evaluation, emphasising not only the type of tools that could be used but also criteria for selection, advantages and disadvantages according to different contexts, etc. 4. How to support Participatory Evaluation processes, Tips and strategies to facilitate participatory evaluation, a chapter which will rely heavily on experiences of people involved in the case studies which will be selected. The manual will be accompanied by audiovisual material which enables its content to be disseminated through YouTube and other social networks.
We will also seek to identify participatory evaluation experiences which leave a lasting impact, forging a path for others to follow and which become learning instruments. We hope to produce a video documentary to put human faces and testimonies, rooted in practice, to the idea of supporting participatory evaluation processes. We will consider all experiences sent in response to the open invitation as well as others which may participate in the forum. From these, we will select those that best illustrate these types of collaborative methodologies.
3.Pilot course and toolkit for participatory evaluation
Once the manual and all the materials generated by this community of practice and learning have been published, we want to design, put into practice and evaluate a Pilot Scheme for Participatory Evaluation Training.
The course design will serve a double purpose. Firstly, it will systematically present the manual’s content and style, encouraging implementation by facilitators imbued with its focus and conception. It will be based on an educational concept of dialogue-based learning, aimed mainly at one of the organisations linked to this initiative, TECHO. The course will be guided by TECHO evaluation benchmarks, addressing the basic principles, concepts and specific tools to be used in participatory evaluation processes. This organisation has decided to replicate participatory evaluation training and experiences in every country where it works in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Secondly, the course aims to systematise methodology and generate a predesigned training programme which is available and accessible and can be adapted and recreated in each local context so that those who need to can replicate this type of training. This product will be offered as a participatory evaluation toolkit in the region and will be available in the materials section of the RESOURCES window of this page.
4. Repository for participatory evaluation
One of the primary purposes of any community is to “share”. There is a wide spectrum of publications on these themes from academic journals and dissemination books to manuals, guides and toolkits which can ease these processes. There is also a valuable set of documented case studies and experiences on the use of methodologies in participatory evaluation which we will continue to share in this community of practice and learning.
We hope that this activity boosts solidarity between colleagues in the region as we make this platform available for sharing information and materials which are useful and applicable to our context.
The repository, which already has some contributions in the RESOURCES section, will be updated as the project develops, and will be enriched with the contributions of all those people and organisations involved who have material that they wish to share. This repository will rely on open access publications and audiovisual material and it will be available to evaluation networks, evaluation postgraduate programmes for Latin America and the Caribbean and other organisations who require it.