Dear Evalparticipativa colleagues and friends, We hope this post finds you well and that you are finding ways of overcoming the difficulties caused by COVID-19.
We are really pleased and thankful that our invitation for ‘meaningful lessons’ in Participatory Evaluation continues to receive responses. Today, we would like to share a valuable experience from Joaquín Navas, Ricardo Ramírez and Mariana López-Fernández from the initiative, DECI. We would like to remind you that the invitation remains open and we would love to receive and share your meaningful lessons. All the best!
On Tuesday 2 June from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (CST) we will have the opportunity to present our community of learning to the world and converse with other colleagues on this evaluation method that excites us so much.
If you are interested in participating, sign up to the event through this link
On the actual day, you can access the webinar through this link
If you have any doubts, ask us by clicking on ‘RESPOND’ (below) or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to check your time zone! You can check here. See you there!
After a short break following the intense end of year activity at EvalParticipativa, I’m back to encourage us to keep discussing the same evaluation approach that excites so many of us. Today, I want to reflect not so much on evaluation itself, but rather on those who conduct it. In other words, the evaluators, those who have made evaluation their profession.
Those who attended the gathering in Ecuador will recall that this issue was not really highlighted in any of the cases presented. Rather, it was a new topic which emerged as a key to successfully conducting participatory evaluation: the facilitator. As we began to talk about the professional profile, the importance of training and experience in evaluation came to the fore in order to integrate the necessary rigour in participatory evaluations. But above all, we emphasised attitude and the ability to manage informed and equal participation during the constant decision-making that takes place in evaluation.
So, how is the participatory approach seen in the wider evaluation community? If the focus on participatory evaluation is on other groups, is this approach considered to be professional intrusion? Or rather an opportunity to extend the culture of evaluation and expand the professional evaluator’s tool box?
Greetings to you all… we are keen to hear your opinions!
Juan Carlos Sanz Vaca | Evaluator, Focelac Team – DEval (Germany)
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.
In our region, Latin America and the Caribbean, participatory evaluation is the heir of some rich traditions which include the systematisation of experiences, popular education and participatory action-research. These examples share some reference points but are also characterised by their own nuances and differences. However, a common thread, relevant here, is a liberating and transformative way of viewing reality which significantly contributes to sustaining and legitimising these initiatives.
Therefore, in order to distance participatory evaluation from purely “technical” visions, it is legitimate to insist that it is more than possible to carry out participatory evaluation without “participatory techniques”. Their absence could even be considered positive if when we use them, we are really only trying to find “fun” alternative ways of imparting content or if we are only pretending to gain the perspective of local stakeholders.
The German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval) and the Costa Rican Ministry of Planning (MIDEPLAN) have run the FOCELAC project (formerly known as FOCEVAL) together since 2014. It supports a large platform of public and private stakeholders for evaluation capacity development promotion in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Even in the platform’s first sessions, the participants felt it was important to explore more deeply the link between evaluation and social participation in the public agenda. The growing interest in the topic enabled the development of a number of short-term research activities which have involved academia, public institutions and civil society organisations.
In order to contribute to desired social transformations, civil society organisations require a system that enables them to, at the very least, monitor and evaluate their work. Monitoring and evaluation are foundational to our intervention strategies. We must, therefore, continually ask ourselves: what role does evaluation have in civil society organisations?, what type of evaluation is the most suitable and useful for these organisations?, what factors should we consider when evaluating work?
Those of us involved with TECHO have adhered to this Community of Practice and Learning and are EvalParticipativa partners. As protagonists in this organisation, and in line with our intention to contribute to reflections offered by other organisations, we have created the questions featured above. Today we would like to share our own reflection and conviction with regard to adopting a participatory evaluation system. The next seven points set out what we have learned.
At the start of this week, we launched our new community of practice and learning for participatory evaluation for the region. We are delighted by the interest that it has generated and the growing number of followers.
For those of you who were not able to participate in the webinar launch, the recording can be accessed in the right sidebar. We also wanted to share this introductory video with you. It can be shared through other medias, networks and channels. We want to keep growing and so encourage you to share with others this invitation to form an active part of the community.
Last but not least, we want to remind you to subscribe to the virtual forum for EvalParticipativa, our main communication method for collective exchange and learning. During June 2019, all those interested will have the opportunity to register, introduce themselves and briefly share on their participatory evaluation motivations and experiences, whether they organised them or simply know about them and want to talk about them.
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