Early Christmas Present: Evaluation Letter to Santa Claus

Dear GenderEval Colleagues,

I hope this note finds you well. I have been enjoying my e-mail exchanges with many members of this community this past year. My research on Evaluation Capacity Development (presented at the AfrEA Conference as well as at AEA and EES) as well as my recent study on Unintended Outcomes with Michael Bamberger and my even more recent research on cultural competence in evaluation (in French and English) gave me a unique opportunity to greatly benefit from your knowledge and experience.

As many of us in different countries (some earlier than others) are getting ready to celebrate the end of the year with our family and dear ones, I thought that it would be nice to share with you a fun piece on evaluation that I wrote this week (please click on the following link:  


It is a letter to Santa Claus and, in its structure, it resembles the wish list that children send to Santa Claus before Christmas with the hopes that they will receive the presents they desire. The difference in this case is that I am not asking for materials things but rather for a series of improvements in evaluation-related behaviours and attitudes within our evaluation/international development community. This letter aims to be quite a humorous piece - and yet a point of entry for further reflection in 2015, the International Year of Evaluation. I dedicate the Letter to Santa Claus to all of you as many of the items mentioned in the letter came up during my conversations with you in the course of numerous evaluation and capacity development assignments undertaken this past year.

Please do not hesitate to circulate this among colleagues and friends with an interest in evaluation.

Once again, best wishes for a terrific and more "engendered" 2015!



Michele Tarsilla, Ph.D. in Evaluation

Evaluation Advisor and Capacity Development Specialist  

Chair of the International and Cross-Cultural Evaluation TIG at the American Evaluation Association

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Comment by Rituu B Nanda on January 16, 2015 at 9:57

Here is  a response from twitter

More critical evaluative thinking, less obsession w/certainty, reflection on costs & benefits of measurement, analysis>data

Comment by Rituu B Nanda on January 9, 2015 at 18:32

New year greetings Michele! My wish list for 2015:

  • Use of strength-based approach like community life competence or appreciative inquiry in evaluation
  • More of participatory evaluations
  • Evaluation is more of learning, collective reflection and transformative process
  • Members get to learn from each other's experiences in the gender and evaluation community
Comment by Minal Mehta on January 5, 2015 at 15:25

Santa May fulfill all your wishes. To add one wish- Santa may all programs add impact indicator in their project at planning stage so that during evaluation it is easy to project the achievements. Also, methods like stories of change be used more frequently to assess impact.

Comment by Rukmini Panda on January 5, 2015 at 13:12

I find it a very novel way of placing your desires and demands. May Santa help us all to fulfill all our wishes.

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