PARTICIPATION, A KEY FOCUS IN OUTCOME HARVESTING: LESSONS FROM CHILE

by Andrea Peroni Fiscarelli

Homogenous evaluations vs differentiated evaluations

In order to build a solid framework and evidence, state-led evaluations have become more standardised over time, and are thus increasingly gaining in credibility. The problem that remains is the need to recognise that not all public programmes share the same characteristics, and therefore differentiated types of evaluations should be considered.

This is evident in programmes that centre around the delivery of goods with no interaction with the beneficiaries (such as in the case of subsidies, plans and vouchers), and others that seek to provide tools and/or develop competencies and skills aimed at increasing the social inclusion of individuals, especially from vulnerable sectors.

For these types of programmes, traditional evaluation methodologies have proved to be insufficient as they only seek to assess the level of effectiveness or efficiency and do not manage to capture the complex and diverse reality, practice and results that are present. Furthermore, as the programmes deal with human and social behaviours, the complexity of their contexts should also be recognised.

Continue reading

Evaluating 15 years of Experiencia Sur

by Belén Rodríguez Navas & Juan José Clavaín Nuño

Entreculturas is a Jesuit-sponsored international cooperation NGO that works to promote justice and social transformation. It defends education as a human right and upholds the right to a dignified life for migrants and refugees. It also seeks to construct committed global citizenship, gender equality and the reconciling of humans with nature. It seeks to contribute to the development of the most vulnerable communities, appealing to values such as solidarity and equal rights, and involving all types of stakeholders (citizens, companies, governments etc.) that share the responsibility of tackling these global challenges.

Continue reading

Games as a participatory tool in evaluation

A reflection from the systematisation of the guinea pig production experience (Peru).

by Ana Tumi Guzmán

In this article, I’m going to share some thoughts concerning a systematisation experience that involved stakeholders with varying degrees of training. I will draw particular attention to the engaging tools used to promote analysis and reflection.

The provinces of Jaén and San Ignacio, in the department of Cajamarca, are renowned in Peru for producing high-quality coffee that is exported to several international markets. Most inhabitants in these areas farm this seasonal crop and their work is particularly intensive during the harvest period between April and September when labour is most demanded. The staggered sale of their harvest is reflected in the income they receive.

Within this context, a development organisation working in the area embarked on a business diversification project to provide producers with additional sustained income as a way of reducing their dependence on coffee production. A participatory consultation process with the coffee growers led to the decision to implement various business types that included the technical production of guinea pigs, to be reared for the local market where there is a high demand that is largely unsatisfied. The guinea pigs, also known as cavy, or cuy/cuyes in Spanish, is a domestic rodent species, the result of a millennia of cross-breeding several species in the Andean region of South America.

Continue reading

Participatory evaluation testimonies from Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is known for its lush green landscapes, beautiful beaches and friendly people. But, unfortunately, it also stands out for its high incidence rates for several kinds of cancer. This prompted the region’s Health Boards (local bodies who monitor the quality of health services) to request an evaluation of cancer care and prevention services, taking advantage of the fact that at the time there was an open tender organised by the Costa Rica Ministry of Planning (MIDEPLAN) and the German cooperation programme, FOCEVAL to support capacity strengthening in evaluation.

Continue reading

Making Every Voice a Protagonist

Conventional evaluations have got us used to the users or beneficiaries of the programs and public policies becoming involved only as key informants. In a participatory evaluation the parties involved are the protagonists of the whole process. They define who will participate, what will be evaluated and when, what data collection and analysis methods will be used and how the results will be communicated.

Karla Zalazar, who has vast experience in facilitating participatory processes, points out that it is essential to foreground multiple stakeholders throughout the process. “If we are going to talk about participatory evaluation, we have to recognise the necessity of creating spaces for true participation, where every voice and perspective is taken into account. This implies being in close contact with the communities, with the different stakeholders and their views, and not just asking questions”, says the Costa Rican social facilitator.

Karla Salazar is a psychologist with a Master’s in Criminology and a Master’s in Political Science. She currently works as an academic coordinator and researcher at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (Costa Rica Headquarters). She is a lecturer and an independent consultant in the fields of research and evaluation. Her career has been characterised by the direct contact with communities, social organizations and people living with multiple vulnerabilities based on gender, violence and social exclusion, and therein lies her passion for the active participation of people in building knowledge and evidence.

The social collective as a unit of analysis

Participatory evaluation is intrinsically collective and qualitative, that is its essence. In this short testimony, Carmen Luz Sánchez (Calu) emphasises that the key to participatory evaluation is to train the different stakeholders to ensure their assimilation of the tools needed to carry out the entire process.

Calu has over four years’ experience in participatory evaluation with the Servicio País program, which was implemented in Chile by the Foundation for Overcoming Poverty (Fundación para la Superación de la Pobreza). In her testimony (with English subtitles), she claims that this approach to evaluation must go hand in hand with an intervention strategy that allows the users of the program to take centre stage.

Carmen Luz Sánchez is from Santiago, Chile. A sociologist from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of Sydney, she has specialised in quantitative and qualitative methods in social research and program evaluation. She has worked as a lecturer and researcher in both fields. Her main interests are poverty, urban sociology and participatory tools. She is currently the Evaluation and Program Management Coordinator of the Servicio País program for the Foundation for Overcoming Poverty (Chile), a civil society organisation in partnership with the EvalParticipativa virtual community. Over the past five years she has worked in the design, development and implementation of participatory evaluation in social interventions.

 

WE NEVER STOP LEARNING! PRINCIPLES FROM FEMINIST PARTICIPATORY EVALUATION IN COLOMBIA

Dear friends and colleagues, we are still receiving responses to our open call for meaningful lessons in participatory evaluation. This time from Alexandra Santillana (senior evaluator at Global Affairs Canada) together with Fabiola Amariles and Ana Isabel Arenas (consultants at Learning for Impact). Below they share with us a rich reflection on feminist and participatory evaluation taken from their experience working with rural community development projects in Colombia. Many thanks for your contributions and let’s keep learning!

THE EXPERIENCE

This experience, which took place between May and November 2018, was not strictly speaking a participatory evaluation, but provides reflection on some lessons learned from applying principles from feminist evaluation and participatory methods in rural development community projects. This pilot was run within the framework of a conventional evaluation led by the Canadian Ministry of Global Affairs (GAC).

Inspired by Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP)¹ and taking advantage of an evaluation already underway as part of the Canadian cooperation program in Colombia, a mixed team of evaluators was formed including Canadian and Colombian specialists to design and implement the pilot.

Continue reading

PARTICIPATORY EVALUATION AND RIGOUR

By Osvaldo Néstor Feinstein

Participatory Evaluation (PE) gives voice to stakeholder perspectives on policy, programme or project processes and results in order to limit or avoid technocratic bias. Furthermore, it promotes ownership of the evaluative process and results which makes the evaluation more widely accepted. These are two of the arguments in support of PE.

On the other hand, PE has been criticised by the argument that it is not a rigorous approach due to its qualitative methods which capture “impressions” and anecdotes but do not provide rigorous quantitative procedures. Sometimes random control trials (RCTs) are used as an example of rigour in evaluation.

Continue reading

More significant learning from Participatory Evaluation. This time from the Costa Rican Caribbean.

Many valuable contributions have been made in the ongoing debate around Participatory Evaluation in times of COVID 19, and today we would like to share another contribution on meaningful lessons ‘in’ and ‘from’ Participatory Evaluation.

This time, we would like to take an example from Costa Rica and listen to Karla Salazar Sánchez, a social researcher and participatory evaluation facilitator. Remember, the invitation to participate remains open and we are interested in hearing from voices on the ground; those who have practice-based knowledge. All contributions are welcome. The many journeys made and times of stumbling and of getting back up; the great discoveries and joys can be made accessible to everyone if you share them with a brief post in this community.

Continue reading

SOCIO-EDUCATIONAL FUNCTIONS AND STRATEGIES THAT COMMUNITY SPECIALISTS CAN USE IN PARTICIPATORY EVALUATION PROCESSES FOR COMMUNITY INITIATIVES

Dear EvalParticipativa friends and colleagues, we hope this post finds you all well!

A few days ago, we symbolically crossed over the big pond to meet Héctor Núñez who lives and works in Barcelona. Héctor has worked exclusively on themes related to Participatory Evaluation (EP) for a long time. In this post, we would like to share his professional profile with you as well as some of his academic work. We are convinced it will enrich the training and reflection that we have been doing around these topics in our community of practice and learning.

Héctor Núñez qualified as a social educator at the University of Santiago de Compostela. He is a pedagogue and holds a PhD in Education from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. His professional experience mainly centres on social pedagogy, non-government organisations and the public sector. Héctor has participated in different research and consultancy projects in Spain and beyond. He is currently professor in the Serra Húnter programme in the Department of the Theory and History of Education at the University of Barcelona.

The main reason we contacted Héctor was to learn about participatory evaluation processes in community initiatives. As we talked, Héctor told us that the working perspective is wider with regard to evaluation. It views the role of Participatory Evaluation as part of the social pedagogy discipline and as a professional strategy within social education. We realised that there were large crossovers between what he told us and the issues that arose in our debates on the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ of PE in our Gathering in Ecuador (2019).

 

Continue reading