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My name is Ranjani.K.Murthy. I work as an Independent Researcher. I made a presentation on participation of stakeholders in evaluation recently in a Pune workshop. The presentation is attached hereStakeholderparticipationinevaluation.pptx

This presentation examines why stakeholder’s participation in evaluation is important; what is the present status of participation of stakeholders in evaluation in India; what are the challenges in getting the participation of stakeholders; and what are the ways forward for participation in evaluation. Gender intensified and gender specific constraints to women’s participation in evaluation are analysed.

Stakeholders in evaluation include marginalised communities and women amongst them, implementing organisations, evaluation team, and donor organisations. Their participation can be a principle by itself, can be a tool for enhancing the efficiency of the evaluation, and can be a tool for strengthening effectiveness of the evaluation. It is the first and last which should be important rationale for the participation of stakeholders in evaluation.

The present status of evaluations in India, with exceptions, is rooted in power hierarchy between evaluation team and marginalised communities, between evaluation team and implementing organisations, between evaluation team members based on gender, caste, race etc., and between donors and evaluation team. 

Some of the challenges to marginalised communities’ participation in evaluation include that the terms of reference is written and in a language which is not really know to them, the timing of the evaluation in the year, the time of the evaluation during the day and presence of caste and gender hierarchies.  Most of the general barriers like “English written TOR” have a gender intensified impact affecting women more than men as women’s literacy is lower and women have lesser knowledge of English

The challenges to implementing agencies’ participation in evaluation include the fear that evaluation is often linked to funding,  (at times) domination by evaluation team, the fact that they have to manage multiple donors, and field level staff’s world load and their lack of knowledge of English.  Majority of the field level staff are women, with few women being at the leadership levels. Similarly there are challenges to participation at the evaluation team and donor levels.   

Looking at ways forward the presentation would like to share one experience from India where the evaluation was commissioned by the implementing agency, and was seen as a learning process.  The terms of reference was evolved by the staff and the gender expert. Participatory and gender aware methods were identified and staff were trained in these methods. In addition interview schedules were used which were evolved collectively and in local language. Each staff did the impact assessment in another staff’s area and a senior staff consolidated the findings.  The focus of the evaluation was to assess gender and poverty impact, and methods such as gender division of labour mapping,  gender based access and control over resources mapping, body mapping, women’s access to institution mapping and happiness index were used.  The information which emerged was triangulated with information from focus group discussions with groups and data from government service providers like schools, nutrition centers, health facilities etc.  A before after comparison (and reasons for difference mapping) and member and non-member comparison (and reasons for difference mapping) was made to ascertain causality of change.  Such a process was owned more by the implementing agency and to some extent by the marginalised communities/women themselves.    

I seek your inputs to the following questions:

i) Who are the stakeholders in evaluation?
ii) What are the constraints in participation of marginalized communities, and women and sexual minorities amongst them in evaluations?
iii) What are the constraints faced by implementing agencies in participation in evaluation? In particular by women staff?
iv) Would you have any experience to share on overcoming the constraints faced by marginalized women and sexual minorities and women staff in evaluation?

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Easwar, your response was very interesting. I am particularly interested in the use of imagery and participatory methods in evaluations. Do share these when you get the time. 

Sanghamitra Dhar said:

Mr Prasad, it was interesting reading your response and I look forward to more from you on the other questions as you promise :)


Kalpathy V Eswara Prasad said:

My name is Eswar and I am a process and institutional development consultant with some interesting evaluation engagements.At the moment I am to-ing and fro-ing from interior Dhalai district and Agartala. Ranjani, you raise some interesting questions.I am responding purely on the basis of my expereince..for whatever it is worth. i) Who are stakeholders in evaluation? This to me depends on the kind of project or program that is being evaluated.stakeholders have some 'stake' in the project and that their support is essential for the success of any project.I find it useful to make it clear right at the beginning of any such venture with client systems that I practice only stakeholder-based evaluation.I have had encounters with client systems where they do not share the ToR with stakeholders! So, as someone who is practicing evaluation seriously,I find it authentic to talk about from the contracting stage. I also find it useful at the start of any evaluation exercise to si with the evaluand or the organization or project or etc. and spend time to do a serious identification of whom they consider as their stakeholders. This is not a listing but much more than that.Who are their stakeholders and what kind of engagement they have /had with the important politically they are to the project,etc. Finally, it does seem useful to identify out of these who the 'Primary' stakeholders are, In the last few years,I have found it also very useful to explore with the project organization, who their 'intended' stakeholders are(See Patton).WHo are those most likely to show interest in the project effort in the future? I often stumble upon interesting responses. Just to give an example a watershead project may have a whole lot of stakeholders that is different from a project implementing Forest Rights.So depending on the nature of the project one needs to slog to identify who the stakeholders are ii) What constraints....? This is a huge asking as many have to pay a price to participate in any the form of opportunity cost. In one particular instance,I do remember that most of the stakeholders, apart from the implementing organization, were daily wage labour who would return late night from work.In such instances, My colleagues and I would conduct meetings with them (with prior I permission) in the night in public spaces such as an open playground as many were women .

I have also found it extremely rewarding to make evaluation as participative as possible.The biggest constraint for the marginalized community seems emerging from their inability to come to terms with the fact that they are more intelligent and articulate than the evaluators! So a variety of methods help-apart from focus group discussions, separate meetings with women in every context, etc.The most rewarding experiences have been for me with tribal women who have expressed themselves through imagery.

I have gone a bit too long and I stop here.I will take up the other questions shortly.


K.V.Eswara Prasad

Thanks Charles for observing that participatory evaluation can only happen when the project is itself participatory. In total agreement. Ranjani   

Rituu B Nanda said:

Another response from Linkedin


Charles Aondoaseer Hemba

This was done in the year 1996-97 while I was working as a post doc at the Ecological Anthropology department of university of Georgia, Athens, USA. This was a part of a course on Human dimensions of natural resources. We typically analyzed all stakeholders using forest, waterbodies like river and lakes, and cultivated land downstream. I do not have any soft copies of the document. I will try and write as and when it is possible.

Ranjani K.Murthy said:

Shankar Talwar said:

I used "stakeholder analysis" approach to assess natural resource utilization (land, water and forest) in a mountain region in Asia. Stakeholder analysis is an excellent tool to see the varying perspective of different stakeholders.

Ranjani: How have you done stakeholder analysis in evaluation? Who are the stakeholders in evaluation?

Third response from Linkedin

Erick Ngosia from Kenya. Thanks Eric!

Stakeholder participation is important in any project if effective results have to be achieved. I work on an accountability project that plays an oversight role on the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and LATF ( Local Authority Transfer Fund). Here, the CDF refers to funds the government gives each constituency in our country for development and the Local Authority transfer Fund refers to funds given by the local government to help the society within the municipalities. It is however from this that we came up with stakeholders who include citizens from the municipalities covered by the local authorities and citizens from the given constituencies where this funds are channeled to. Stakeholders have to be informed of the monitoring approach and methods to be used and also to have the capacity to carry out some activities on their own. Hence to me stakeholders form a very critical phase within our organization.

Second response from Erick

Erick NgosiaRanjani K Murthy, we have 222 constituencies, from each of this constituency, we organized a forum whereby, the constituency members selected a man and a woman to represent them in the Constituency Monitoring Committee that works with the projects in every constituency and also a man and a woman from every local authority. So, for every constituency, there is a man and woman on the ground. We involve this people, together with the projects implementers and other stakeholders in the monitoring process. They visit every project that is being funded by CDF in each of the constituency and record their findings on an activity form that we use on analyzing the results. We again accompany them with the quantity surveyor and building and construction specialist for every constituency to help in finding out if the materials used and the money put in the project is worth

Linkedin response

Hi Ranjani!

Marginalized community groups has to be participated not only during evaluation but also on planning. If your project has not participated these groups during planning period, you have to participate them during evaluation even. But if they were not participated during planning and implementation they don't have that much awareness about the evaluated issue, so that they could not contribute much as expected.   

Bihonegn T.


Hi Ranjani!

Marginalized community groups has to be participated not only during evaluation but also on planning. If your project has not participated these groups during planning period, you have to participate them during evaluation even. But if they were not participated during planning and implementation they don't have that much awareness about the evaluated issue, so that they could not contribute much as expected.   

Bihonegn T.

Hi Ranjaniji,

I was part of a participatory evaluation project , PAR for two years in India and Cambodia which was funded by IDRC. Here are some of my learnings:

  1. Projects which are participatory in nature, the engagement of stakeholders is easier and more likely
  2. Earlier the engagement of stakeholders, more is the degree of participation and greater ownership
  3. A challenge we faced was that the project team considered evaluation was an external thing and they had no role in it except provide data. We tried a problem based approach in India and strength-based approach in Cambodia for the baseline. During the course of the project we realised that strength-based approach greatly helped us in encouraging stakeholder participation. We used community life competence approach ( Thereafter, we changed to strength-based approach in India as well.

All the best for your presentation in Kathmandu!



Linkedin  response

Michael Moore Best,
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Two more responses from Linkedin



Xenia Hidalgo-Panameno, MCP-ARCHThe participants sometimes don´t believe in the effectiveness of the programs, that´s why they don´t want to participate in evaluation. But as an incentive it is a method to awake the willingness to participate, plus that their working time could be interrupted, therefore it is needed to pay them


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