I had the great pleasure today of attending a wonderful webinar on adapting evaluations during the COVID pandemic. I especially enjoyed a very inspiring presentation by our very own Rituu and her exchanges with us. Here a few insights and lessons from her discussion:
Key points (from my perspective):
- If evaluators behave like auditors they will be perceived as such.
- A truly participatory evaluative process creates, especially for funders, commissioners and managers, time and space to reflect, exchange, learn; in other words, evaluative thinking.
- The fundamental evaluation question is, or should be, about the impact on (I would say value for) the community despite the fact that this may not be the commissioner’s question; this is what is meant by independent evaluation. (autonomy of evaluative judgment is another aspect).
- “NGOs were much better at it because they lived through it”. Yes! Lived experience is a deep, rich and meaningful source of knowledge and wisdom. If you eliminate that source ,e.g., by way of “standards of evidence” among others, we are not only cutting ourselves off from knowledge and wisdom (which come adapted to context) but we are adding to disenfranchisement (including to ourselves).
- The ethics of sharing data is a wonderful opportunity to engage with ourselves as so-called evaluators and I think that participatory analysis is absolutely fundamental to participatory processes and to empowerment.
- I love, and think, that evaluation should be about, “dreaming up ways to shift power”.
Thank you so much Rituu!