Yesterday (13/12/18) I met David Fetterman, one of the most important theorists in programme evaluation area. He came to Claremont, at the invitation of the Claremont Evaluation Center, as one of the speakers of the CEC Speaker Series, short events generally performed at lunch time. It is always exciting to find reference authors of your literature. This is a common practice for authors of this area. The usual is to imagine someone with distant behavior and willing only to talk about their knowledge. No, it wasn't like that. In the short time we spend together we exchange photos of travel, impressions about children, we talk about life in a simple and light way. David came to talk about a very interesting approach called empowerment evaluation, i.e. "Evaluation for empowerment". he has several books on the theme and has given lectures worldwide. But what is this about? Many people believe that evaluation can only be done by external agents. Consultants, or auditors. Many consultants and auditors also believe that evaluations should be made without any involvement of the actors in the program (leaders, managers, teams and beneficiaries). After all, we have to be independent! But others argue that the involvement of the actors is prerequisite for legitimacy and extends the chance of using the results. There are several possibilities for actors involved in an evaluation. There is a degree of cooperation, where they play a supporting role, providing information and information. There is participation, where evaluators and actors work together in the various stages of evaluation. And there is a third level, where the actors are the main agents of the process. Here, the evaluators only facilitate the process. Being the main agent of the process means evaluating your own performance and taking responsibility for improving your initiative. As it should be. But how is independence? The "Evaluation for empowerment" has to be accompanied by evidence, which gives credibility to the process. This puts upside down the idea that the evaluator evaluates, the manager gets the results and someone makes decisions. In this case, the evaluator supports, the manager evaluates, learns and outlines the ways to improve. This approach is ideal for initiatives by small communities or organizations, where there are no resources to finance external consultancy work. Also, for organizations where monitoring and evaluating is an intrinsic activity of their skills, such as the councils of various social policies. Fetterman closed his day with us asking a provocative question: what kind of evaluator are you?
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