A Bridge Between Community and Decision Making

In this video (with English subtitles), Matthias Casasco from TECHO Chile highlights the importance of participatory evaluation as a tool with the potential to provide a bridge between the locals’ voices and decision making.

He also points out how important it is to successfully generate spaces for reflection in the communities to discuss their problems and projects as well as community organising. The main goal of the participatory evaluation process, Matthias claims, is that local stakeholders take ownership of the process.

Matthias Casasco has a Master’s degree in Political Science from Sciences Po Rennes (France). He has specialised in housing and urban development policies. Matthias has been living in Santiago de Chile for nine years and is now in charge of the program for Housing Solutions at the TECHO-Chile foundation. In this capacity, he joins the communities of popular settlements on their journey to their right to adequate housing and connects them with the housing programs of the Chilean state. As a member of the EvalParticipativa community, he has worked on the design and implementation of a participatory evaluation pilot program in the Santa Teresa camp, on the outskirts of Santiago de Chile.

 

SOWING AND HARVEST. A Handbook for Participatory Evaluation

2020 will remain engraved on our memories as the year when the COVID-19 pandemic irrupted into our lives. We experienced on a global scale the depth of our connection and interdependency as well as how closely intertwined our realities are.

In such a context, we are very happy to present this handbook for participatory evaluation which was put together as our response from the field of evaluation. In the face of fragility and the limits of self-sufficiency, we intend to foreground the multitude of voices and experiences of the people involved in development processes.

This book is the result of joint work. It is at the same time sowing and harvest of multiple experiences and knowledge. Its pages mirror the collective thinking, feeling and learning of a great many colleagues who have been working on the subject in Latin America.

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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.

 

A year ends, a new opportunity is born

Dear EvalParticipativa community, we are about to wrap up a 2020 that nobody would have wished for. A sanitary crisis like we had never experienced that has had and will continue to have economic and social consequences that are still difficult to estimate.

It has also been a year we will remember for the collective effort to hold on and to find reasons to keep going. Self-isolating to protect our elders, doubling our selfless efforts, searching for new balance in family life, being there even when we cannot be. This virus makes us stronger every day because it requires us to retrieve the essence of the sense of community. In a crisis such as we are living, the instructions are not “help me” but “find somebody to help”.

This is why we are convinced that communities like ours are the way forward. So it comes as no surprise to us that in 2020 our space for practice and learning consolidated and even exceeded the most optimistic expectations. For this reason, above all else, we thank you and applaud your effort to make your presence felt through EvalParticipativa.

We wish you an end of the year in the company of your loved ones, in peace and with hope. A big hug from the EvalParticipativa coordination team!

 

ONLINE TRAINING ON PARTICIPATORY EVALUATION

Dear community,

A few weeks ago, we shared an interesting conversation on our platform about participatory evaluation possibilities in times of covid-19.

Many of you had already demonstrated great optimism and confidence that it could work and today we are pleased to be able to back this up with a little more information.

As you know, online formats have become the safest, if not the only, way to build capacity in these pandemic times. This has also been understood by the EvalYouth initiative and Focelac project leaders who have arranged a series of online workshops aimed at strengthening the capacity of young and/or emerging evaluators (YEEs) in the region. The University of Costa Rica has taught a Masters in Evaluation for over 17 years and is now delivering its program fully online and asked us to participate in the section on Participatory Evaluation which features in the modules on evaluation approaches for the Latin American reality.

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Bravo EvalParticipativa!

By J. Bradley Cousins and Hind Al Hudib
University of Ottawa, Canada

EvalParticipativa – what an amazing space! We are longtime fans, researchers, and purveyors of participatory evaluation but in our experience, EvalParticipativa is unparalleled as a space for professional exchange, capacity building, and learning in this domain. It is our very great honour to contribute to, and become part of, the EvalParticipativa community.

Participatory evaluation (PE) has been near and dear to our hearts for a very long time. One of us (Cousins) has been writing about this topic for almost 3 decades. While our contributions have been mostly research on PE, we’ve always had an interest in translating research-based knowledge into practice. What an amazing opportunity EvalParticipativa provides in this regard! But perhaps even more compelling is the reverse; what a fabulous opportunity to turn expert practice into research! Lessons learned will surly advance evaluation theory and practice.

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LESSONS TAKEN FROM THE WORKING GROUP EXPERIENCE IN THE SANTA TERESA INFORMAL SETTLEMENT (TECHO-CHILE)

Dear friends, we are continuing to learn from each other and this time we will hear some thoughts from Fernanda Arriaza, TECHO member. This organisation works in 19 Latin American countries and seeks to overcome the poverty experienced by millions of people living in informal settlements through initiatives which unite the efforts of settlement dwellers and young volunteers.  In this post, you can read about the lessons they learnt in an experience that was recently documented as part of an initiative in and with the Working Group.

We would like to remind you that our invitation to share your meaningful lessons remains open and we would love to receive and share your them. Greetings!

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WHY IS PARTICIPATION IMPORTANT IN EVALUATION? LESSONS FROM AN EXPERIENCE IN MEXICO

A couple of months ago, we got in touch with Giovanna Montagner, follower of our community of practice, and invited her to share some of her thoughts on evaluation and participation.

She opted to share on the following initiative and writes together with the evaluation team. It is an adaptation of Outcome Harvesting, developed over two years and carried out in close collaboration with the programme’s staff. The evaluation process included telephone interviews to all the small agricultural producer leaders who were participants in the initiative, visits to a “sample” of the groups on the ground where interviews, observation and group activities were held. In addition, they carried out semi-structured interviews with the other programme participants (partner companies and NGOs). This all meant that they could seek to identify results from the perspective of the participants which was an innovative approach for the programme and which completed a pre-existing quantitative evaluation. Here are the lessons learnt from the experience.

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ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION: “BY REASON OR BY FORCE” DOCUMENTARY LAUNCH

Dear friends and colleagues, we hope you are all well!

We would like to invite you all to participate in the official launch of our documentary By Reason or By Force and its accompanying round table discussion which will be held on 24 July at 6pm UCT -3 (see the trailer and link to participate at the end of this entry).

The documentary was part of the participatory evaluation of the Working Groups and was organised together with TECHO, one of EvalParticipativa’s strategic partners. The evaluation methodology was replicated in different countries of the region.

Here, we let you see behind the scenes of this documentary and the evaluative experience; topics that we will touch on in addition to the film in the round table discussion.

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CALL FOR MEANINGFUL LESSONS LEARNT IN PARTICIPATORY EVALUATION EXPERIENCES

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.

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