PARTICIPATORY EVALUATION HAS THAT ‘JE NE SAIS QUOI’

They say “each follows their own rulebook” but what would happen if we converted these different viewpoints and approaches into a common shared perspective? At this First Gathering of Participatory Evaluation Experiences for the region of Latin America and the Caribbean  we will attempt to do just that.

But we must insist: By saying that, we are not suggesting that we intend to develop a general definition and by doing so, simplify it. Let’s be honest: No, just the opposite! In line with the horizontal action proposed by PE, we aim to propose a space where everyone can share their distinct perceptions, concepts, ideas and appreciations of PE.

In this way, we will be able to shine a light on those defining features which are repeated in the region. We will almost certainly dare to call some of these PE principles in our quest to be disruptive, but we will also be happy to observe any unique characteristics which make an evaluation truly participatory.

All participants will use their own experiences to discover how their realities take on different lights when viewed through the eyes of PE.

Bye for now!

THE SHOES OF PARTICIPATORY EVALUATION, THE FEET OF THE EVALUATOR

Can one experience represent all experiences? Who walks the path? Does PE establish the path or does the evaluator open the way? Over the next few days, we will try to answer these and other questions.

The leading role for this gathering is given to the experiences themselves. Over 5 days, using 15 experiences with evaluator peers, we will be able to zoom in on PE through their eyes despite the fact that they have been carried out in various regions.

Aside from the quantity and diversity of experiences, their value lies in the fact that they were and are transformative in their communities. In such tumultuous times as those today in our region, this is no mean feat. Through the stories, we will be able to observe the tools used, feel the challenges experienced and understand through their experiences that one PE is not the same as all PE.

Continue reading

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON ‘TIL WE MEET

In just five days, we will host the First Gathering of Participatory Evaluation Experiences for the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, and we want to invite you to enjoy the run-up with us.

Over the next few days, we will share everything that we are excited about regarding this gathering. That way, you will participate with us, from our perspective, through our eyes. And by doing so, you will become another one of the participants in this experience.

As you already know, the First Gathering of Participatory Evaluation Experiences for the region of Latin America and the Caribbean will take place in Quito, Ecuador from the 18 to the 22 of November.

Close your eyes (metaphorically! we want you to keep reading this post!) and imagine that you have the ability to teleport yourself. Not just to Quito, but imagine that you had the ability to go, in the blink of an eye, to various places in Latin America and experience different experiences in distinct communities, observe and debate about the roles involved in these situations, get fully informed… and all this through the Participatory Evaluation lens.

Continue reading

AND WHAT ABOUT TOOLS? GAMES AND INSTRUMENTS FOR PARTICIPATORY EVALUATION

Participatory tools are increasingly valued in the field of evaluation whether for analysing reality, facilitating communication, constructing collective perspectives, stimulating creativity and facilitating decision-making, or even for quietening dominant voices to give space for shyer ones. A quick search in the EvalParticipativa tools section is enough to demonstrate that we have a rich supply of techniques and activity ideas. Yet, even though we have a vast array of tools, we do not always know how to use them well. Whilst there seems to be an instrument for every possible situation or goal, there is also the need to constantly modify them and design new customised tools to suit specific situations.

Everyone who has facilitated participatory processes has asked themselves at some point how to achieve maximum possible involvement from as many stakeholders as possible in the activities that we organise. And of course we have not always managed to achieve this! We believe that one of the challenges of participatory evaluation is to create spaces where real participation takes place and multiple stakeholders are the real protagonists in the evaluation agenda.

It is not enough to have a deep understanding of participatory evaluation. It is necessary to identify and use appropriate tools in each social and cultural context where the evaluation is held. These thoughts are a response to this challenge and we are going to share some ideas whilst hoping to provide a pathway for others which will emerge from this community of practice regarding the challenging task of selecting or creating the right tools to facilitate the evaluative process.

Continue reading

THE FIRST GATHERING OF EXPERIENCES IS COMING!

Hello friends! Not long now until we have our First Gathering of Participatory Evaluation Experiences for the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, which will take place in Quito, Ecuador from 18 to 22 November 2019.

Motivation

The motivation behind this gathering is in part the recognition that there already exists a diversity of participatory evaluation experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean. Our open call was widely accepted and we have selected 16 experiences of this type of evaluation which we think reflect the great diversity and richness present in our region.

They include experiences which all, explicitly or implicitly, have a clear transformative intention; experiences which encourage the social action participants (whether in a policy, programme or project) to take a leading role in evaluation. We have invited to this first gathering those who have used their evaluative practice to facilitate these processes and to strengthen and build capacity in organisations. Continue reading

PARTICIPATORY EVALUATION: A JOURNEY IN OVERCOMING PRECONCEIVED IDEAS ABOUT EVALUATION

The programme, Servicio País (from the Poverty Alleviation Foundation) started working on Participatory Evaluation (PE) several years ago in a somewhat desperate attempt to conduct evaluations that were more coherent with the programme’s internal logic. It promotes a promotional and collective model which puts local organisations at the heart of development instead of individuals.

Continue reading

EVALUATION AND THE CENTRAL ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY. REFLECTIONS AS PREPARATION FOR THE FIRST GATHERING OF PARTICIPATORY EVALUATION (PE) EXPERIENCES FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Interest in evaluating public policies has grown significantly in the last fifteen years. This is reflected in theoretical and methodological production as well in the increase of national evaluation policies in countries of all continents. It is also seen in the increasing institutionalisation of evaluation and a surge of initiatives focused on making this practice more professional. Since the 2015 ‘International Year of Evaluation’ evaluation has become a global trend. This has made the main international development organisations converge their interests and actions with regional evaluation networks (VOPEs), foundations, various government bodies, non-governmental organisations and academia; all of whom are interested in maximising evaluation as an instrument for improving public policies.

In addition to this, the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were an important step forward for evaluation theory and practice. With regard to our context, the idea is to generate a new agenda of global evaluation priorities from 2016 to 2030 which aims to bridge the gap between the community of evaluators (supply) and the community of decision makers (demand), giving a central role to civil society as way of ensuring that evaluations do not only respond to the needs of end users but also meet evidence-based quality standards which are credible and can be used to create and manage public policies.

Continue reading

Evaluation Standards for Latin America and the Caribbean

Evaluation is growing in importance in the region. The professional demand from institutions is responded to through focuses and practices which vary in terms of quality and depth. The differences observed in evaluation affects professionalisation and how useful they are for decision-making, learning lessons, accountability and public deliberation on social policies and actions.

In order to address this diversity of realities, international experience demonstrates the importance of having standards which act as guiding references for the professional work of evaluators.

These definitions have been compiled by various organisations, professional associations and cooperation agencies. For example, standards have been defined by institutions belonging to the United Nations; evaluation associations from the USA (AEA), Europe (EES) and Africa (AFREA); and national associations and networks such as those in Germany, Canada, France, Switzerland among others.

They all share core definitions and recognise the shared element inherent to the professional exercise of evaluation, whatever the social or cultural context.

Given the field of evaluation’s relatively recent development in Latin America, it is of upmost importance to have a common guidance framework similar to those in other regions. As well as gathering shared core principles, other dimensions should be considered which are unique and relevant to our rich and diverse reality in Latin America.

For this reason, the Network of Monitoring, Evaluation and Systematisation for Latin America and the Caribbean decided to organise a working group to address this topic and draft the publication, Evaluation Standards for Latin America and the Caribbean. This is available in Spanish, Portuguese and English and is the fruit of the collective work of many people who have contributed their ideas and time. This was achieved with the support of FOCEVAL and the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval) who helped organise and run activities.

A few days ago, an animated video introducing the project was launched. It is currently available in two versions (short and extended) in Spanish and one version in English and Portuguese.

English version

Spanish (extended) version

Spanish (short) version

Portuguese version

We hope it will be useful to everyone who is interested in carrying out quality evaluations. We invite you to discover these materials and share them with your colleagues and peers!

Bye for now!

Adding experiences and lessons learned!

Hello colleagues and friends! We wanted to let you know that we have “uploaded” a new evaluation experience that integrates social participation to the Resources section of EvalParticipativa.

It is called “Mejora de la calidad educativa para la inserción de poblaciones vulnerables en América Latina” (Improving educational quality for integration of vulnerable groups in Latin America), rolled out by Entreculturas and Fe y Alegria, with the support of the Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) between 2010 and 2015.

You can access the final report and two informative videos on the evaluation’s process and results in Chapter 6 of  RESOURCES/EvalParticipativa experiences.

We would like to thank Belén Rodríguez Navas from the Unit of Planning, Evaluation and Quality at Entreculturas for getting involved with EvalParticipativa and sharing this valuable material with us. We would like to invite all those who have participated in similar experiences to share what you have learned with us!

Greetings from the EvalParticipativa team!

Call to present participatory evaluation experiences from Latin America and the Caribbean

Dear colleagues,

We would like to announce a call to present positive experiences of participatory evaluation developed in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Those accepted will constitute the first stage in developing the first regional gathering on the topic, organised by EvalParticipativa, developed by PETAS at the National University of San Juan and the  FOCELAC project by DEval, which will take place at the end of November. The country, place and dates are to be confirmed.  We will shortly provide more details on the project and this invitation to participate.

Continue reading