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!



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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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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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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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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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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Happy Birthday! May Covid 19 not take away the joy of our birth and growth as a community!

Around this date, just one year ago, EvalParticipativa opened its doors for the first time. And ever since, there has been much interest and many participatory evaluation experiences carried out in the region. EvalParticipativa invited us to connect, contribute our knowledge and keep learning together.

If you have time to look through and re-read, you will see that the first blog post on the page invited us to do just that, get involved. And the response, your response, was outstanding!

Whilst it is true that the initiative began with 4 or 5 organisations that were already committed to contributing, the number of people who participate in the forum, follow our publications or interact through social networks has continued to increase.

Today the page is followed by 176 people from 18 countries and it has been visited by 20 million visitors during its first year. Furthermore, the virtual forum has 92 subscribers. And it even became clear that it was not enough to only publish in our mother tongue! EvalParticipativa had to learn English so it could also share knowledge further afield from Latin America.

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By reason or by force. Documentary on Santa Teresa Settlement Participatory Evaluation (Chile)

One of EvalParticipativa’s main aims is to share evaluation experiences that have not been shared before and learn from them. Another aim is to make public stories of lived experiences, struggle and social organisation which often go unnoticed by society even though they exist right under its nose. It is our great pleasure to share this documentary “By reason or by force”, an initiative which fulfils both these objectives.

It relates to an experience promoted by TECHO, an organisation which works in 19 Latin America countries which seeks to overcome the poverty experienced by millions of people living in informal settlements through the collaboration of inhabitants with young volunteers.

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Dear EvalParticipativa friends and colleagues, we are very pleased to announce that EvalParticipativa is growing.  Due to several requests from people and organisations interested in the topic who do not speak Spanish, we are working on creating and updating the English version of this website.

It is possible that there will be moments, such as early this morning, when you will see test publications. Do not worry, they are only small hiccups. The Spanish version will remain the same, and soon you will be able to access its twin version in English.

All growth implies a few setbacks. We will keep in touch as we continue with our efforts to build this community of practice and learning in evaluation and participation.

See you soon! ! !

EvalParticipativa Coordination Team