Community Ownership in Evaluation. The Experience of Asia Pacific Evaluation Association (APEA)

by  Rituu B. Nanda & Randika de Mel

Let us join hands EvalParticipativa! Greetings from India!

Congratulations on the brilliant work you have been doing on promoting participation of communities in evaluation.

We are of the Asia Pacific Evaluation Association (APEA) action group on Community Ownership in Evaluation. We held an online Consultation in July 2021 in which 90 people participated from different parts of the world to create awareness of the importance of strengthening community ownership in evaluation and to develop an action plan for community ownership in evaluation in the Asia Pacific Region.

The highlight was participation of communities in the consultation. Two indigenous youth from India (supported by Faith Foundation) accepted the Evaluation torch. A young youth leader presented her experience in girl-led research from EMpower.

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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.

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How to ensure that all voices are heard. Predefined criteria vs. stakeholder questions in evaluation

by Laura Porrini

For a while now, I have been pondering some key aspects that, in my experience, shape Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) practice in the Global South. It is within this context that I have decided to set out some ideas that could be incorporated into practice criteria. One of the ideas that I have focused on is the existing tension between the increasingly felt need to ensure that all voices are heard in the evaluation process and predefined evaluation criteria, both in terms of their content and use.

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The benefits of a participatory approach in a complex context: The interim evaluation of the CRIA Program (Guatemala)

by Joaquín Navas, Claudia Calderón y Ricardo Ramírez.


CRIA stands for Consorcios Regionales de Investigación Agropecuaria (Regional Consortia for Agricultural and Livestock Research). The CRIA program began in 2016 with the goal of improving agricultural and livestock research capacity across inter-organizational consortia in Guatemala. The program has been funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAGA) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in (IICA).

Two Canadian-based independent consultants – Joaquin Navas and Ricardo Ramírez – completed the mid-term evaluation of CRIA between November 2018 and February 2019. They leaned on their experience with the DECI Project [1] in Latin America, which builds on Michael Quinn Patton’s Utilization-Focused Evaluation (U-FE) (2008) [2]. This approach calls for the engagement of a team of primary intended users that take on the design of the evaluation and commit to making use of its findings. This is a participatory aspect of U-FE, where the primary users elicit the purpose and intended uses expected from the evaluation. This in turn enables them to take ownership of the evaluation design.

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Today we would like to share an article by Leonardo Drazic (*) with the EvalParticipativa community. He is one of our friends and colleagues at the National University of San Juan and has supported this initiative in various ways since it began. Leo shares with us some thoughts that we consider relevant for the approach to participatory evaluation that we promote. An approach that holds the democratic ideal at its core and that focuses on the importance of citizens being the political reason behind every evaluation. Particular emphasis is placed on the higher education system and the need for it to connect to reality at different levels.

Every society that is victim to successive moments of crisis is severely marked and affected by previous ruptures to the terms of basic social contracts, whether economic, political or legal.  In many Latin American and Caribbean countries, political institutionality is largely discredited due to the questions that surround it.  Public opinion in general clearly rejects the current, past and future ruling classes. This communicates a lack of trust in political representatives and especially toward democratic institutional mechanisms that organise public activity.

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Why Participatory Evaluation? Reflections from a Global Northerner

by Ann Marie Castleman 

I was first introduced to participatory evaluation in Nicaragua. Like many people educated in the United States, I was trained in Western approaches to evaluation and research originating mostly from the social sciences. When I began working in monitoring and evaluation at a small NGO in Managua, it felt as though none of that training was relevant – largely because it was not. I did not fully understand at the time, but I now realize it was because I was trained in an epistemology or way of viewing the world that was largely out of touch with the local culture and context of the remote, rural communities where my team members and I supported health promoters to provide basic medical care in their communities. We used participatory approaches and methods including Photovoice, the Most Significant Change Technique, and Appreciative Inquiry.

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Evaluation and participation in humanitarian action: contributions to the debate from Latin America

                                      by Alcides Gussi, Marcia Braz & Regislany Morais

The contemporary debate on evaluation and participation in humanitarian action is particularly prominent in Latin America. Multiple and diverse humanitarian contexts, crisis types and humanitarian responses exist in the region. It is also home to several study centres and researchers who discuss participation.

This is unsurprising given that the region is the birthplace for major theoretical influences on the topic. Moreover, professional evaluator networks have been established where highly diverse evaluation perspectives are shared, contributing significantly to the construction of knowledge and emphases given in the field of evaluation.

All this context strengthens a rich exchange of knowledge and experience on humanitarian action, evaluation and participation in Latin America. In this article, we will briefly introduce these concepts and invite those interested to get involved in the work developed in Brazil by the Humanitarian Action Evaluation Studies Group.

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Aligning agendas to promote participation in public policies

por Susana Menéndez-Roldán, María Dolores Torralbo-Obrero y Salustiano Luque-Lozano

A few months ago, the Practical Guide for Participatory Planning and Evaluation of Public Policies: Mainstreaming Participation (available in Spanish) was added to the EvalParticipativa Resources section. We, Susana Menéndez-Roldán, María Dolores Torralbo-Obrero and Salustiano Luque-Lozano, from the Andalusian Institute of Public Administration (Andalusia, Spain), have written this post to tell you more about this guide.

Citizen participation is the best way to achieve social inclusion. It is, after all, one of the goals included in the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda (SDGs). More specifically, it aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies that can achieve sustainable development, facilitate access to justice for all people, and build effective, inclusive and accountable institutions at all levels. Gender equality is another important goal to ensure the full and effective participation of women and equal leadership opportunities at all decision-making levels in political, economic and public life.

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Let’s talk about participatory tools! Featured material available at EvalParticipativa

by Esteban Tapella

Those of us who have facilitated participatory processes, have at some point wondered what we need to do to achieve the highest degree of involvement possible, from as many stakeholders as possible, in the activities that we plan. One of the many challenges that surface when carrying out participatory evaluation is how to create spaces for real participation where multiple stakeholders can be true protagonists in the evaluation agenda. We know that this is not achieved only by understanding in depth participatory evaluation and the methodological steps, it is also necessary to identify and be able to handle appropriate tools for each social and cultural context where the evaluation is carried out.

The use of participatory tools is increasingly valued in the field of evaluation whether to analyse the reality, facilitate communication, build shared viewpoints, stimulate creativity, facilitate decision making or even decrease the volume of some voices in order to make space for quieter voices.

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by Sergio Martinic & Luis Soberón

This article describes the drafting process for the recently published revised and expanded Standards for Latin America and the Caribbean. We give a brief description of the methodology followed, highlighting its participatory nature and the most significant milestones and results. We then examine in more detail questions concerning participation, a cross-cutting thread of particular interest that is woven through all four dimensions and the twenty standards that make up the Standards document.

The document itself can be accessed in English, Spanish and Portuguesse.

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