Learnings & some nice things from European Evaluation Society conference 2018

I presented at EES conference but more importantly learned from brilliant professionals from around the world.

Nicest thing was the informal meet ups between members of Gender and Evaluation community. see pictures https://gendereval.ning.com/forum/topics/european-evaluation-societ...;

Favourite quote: Karen Biesbrouck from @oxfamnovib : Categorization of outcome statements in outcome harvesting- egg stage, chicken stage or chicken soup

Here are some sessions I  attended and learned from: 

Gender and Evaluation

1. I had the privilege to present at the session “Evaluating the gender perspective in SDGs” organized by Hellenic Evaluation Society (HES), National Council of Greek Women (NCGW),Municipality of ThessalonikiII. My presentation was around EvalGender+ work (thanks to Svetlana Negroustoueva  for preparing me; it was her and others work I presented) on incorporating evaluations with gender and equity lens in Voluntary National reviews. A powerful quote from my co-presenter- Silvia Sainas  “Gender perspective is not enough, we have to talk about gender transformative practices." Discussions were around how gender in Greek and other societies were still considered an additional element and not in mainstream. However we saw some good practices from Greece and RELAC region. 

2. Marco Segone facilitated a session where Gerardo, Fabiola and I presented around EvalYouth, EvalGender+ and also building ownership and evaluative mindset in communities particularly youth. ( we will post a blog)

I presented Constellation's approach SALT to build ownership on evaluation and evaluative mindset in communities https://www.communitylifecompetence.org/

This could be one of the answers to 'no one left behind'

(photo courtesy :Gerardo)

3. De- colonized evaluation- how do we combine gender transformation with cultural respect? Indigenise evaluations. There is no resilience without equity: When will our profession finally act to reverse asymmetries in global- Adeline Sibande, Zenda Ofir Sonal Zaveri, Silvia Salinas, Nancy MacPherson4. Women in conflict and fragile states and Evaluation- Women and children are often the most affected during a crisis or in situations of fragility - yet underrepresented during evaluations in fragile contexts due to a variety of challenges. Fragile states lack democratic accountability.“If women are not represented in Evaluation early on, and women issues are not structurally addressed, opportunity to rebuild better nations in conflict and fragile states will be lost”  Susan Tamondong shared a story how the men from local country evaluation did not let her be part of the field visit for an evaluation of a fragile area because it was dangerous for her as a woman. 

Multi-stakeholder response to SDGs

On 5th Oct, I attended a  roundtable on EvalSDGs- where conversations centred around international, regional, national and local context. We concluded that engagement at all levels including communities is important for reaching the sustainable development goals.

Resilient communities- There were discussions on how evaluations can support more resilient societies. Investing in national evaluation systems & capacities is the way to go in these changing times & to achieve SDGs. Resilience thinking is a way of governing in an ontology of complexity, against a modernist assumption of cause-and-effect linear relationships. I attended presentations by Scott Chaplowe and Colin Mcquistan (from Practical Action).

Revision of OECD DAC criteria -Zenda Ofir led the discussions on revision of DAC Evaluation criteria being used all over the world to guide practitioners and are extremely influential. 

Values and Evaluation- Keryn Hassall‏  presented on linking values and evidence - to create useful evidence and use evidence to influence. She said that when values are not articulated in the evaluation process, the work defaults to the values of the powerful. 

Complexity in MEL- Madhulika Singh's (of UN Women )  presentation from perspective of commissioner of Evaluation  and Marina Apgar and Grace from Institute of Development Studies, Brighton presented on on MEL in complex situations.


Quality of tweets during the conference was excellent and here are some:

  • Thomas Archibald shared through Twitter-Rick Davies on key problems in theories of change: 1. Undocumented connections. 2. Missing connections. 3. Symmetric connections. 4. Numerous pathways. 5. Feedback loops not well conceptualized. 6. Limited context.
  • These catalytic questions are good prompts for #EvaluativeThinking
  • Marco Segone‏ @msegone Evaluation needs to shift from projects to systems, from one actor to multi stakeholders partnerships, from aid to development-humanitarian-peace nexus
  • Reflecting on the *process* of open, collaborative listening (including the ubiquitous insider/outsider question)
  • Is “most significant change” only highlights the positives and undermines negatives.

 Sessions I wanted to attend but  missed:

  • Sustainability- Jindra Cekan
  • Participatory analysis Francesca D'Emidio
  • Listening in Evlaution
  • Realist and Utilization focused evaluation- Steven Ariss
  • Presentations by Michaela Raab and Hur Hassnain

    Resources I found during the conference

  1. Workshop of Outcome harvesting- GoeleScheers and Wolfgang Richert,  workshop on Outcome Harvesting. http://outcomeharvesting.net/
  2. Inclusive Systemic Evaluation for Gender equality, Environments and Marginalized voices (ISE4GEMs): A new approach for the SDG era -I contributed experiences from the field. http://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/li...
  3. Book on Evaluative thinking by Thomas Archibald -New Directions for Evaluative Thinking4. Handouts on SDGs shared by Florence Etta (AGDEN)5. Evaluation Planning Checklist as a simple tool to support #eval planning & management https://broadleafconsulting.ca/index.html

6. Youtube videos by #EES2018

Bastian interviewing Paulo Teixeira who has been attending the EES conference since 1998 https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=12&v=mQhRxOusqKM

Thiago Culari (Voltalia) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zn5USG9sHY

Barbara Befani is a former Secretary General of the European Evaluation Society (EES) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSdNlznGYqg

Ian Davies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9_UQ4yC7T0

 Antonina Rishko-Porcescu and Hur Hassnain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFEO8Wp6FHQ

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Comment by Malcolm Cox on October 15, 2018 at 14:15

Really inspiring, thank you Rituu!

Comment by Ranjani K.Murthy on October 11, 2018 at 14:39
Thanks Rituu for giving a glimpse of the conference in such an imaginative way. I like the emphasis on need for systems approach very much, as well as showing how we can move towards gender transformation and not just where gaps lie.
Comment by Hur Hassnain on October 9, 2018 at 13:33
Thanks Rituu for penning down such a comprehensive account of the EES Conference. Wish we could all follow your paths for creating an enabling environment for learning and sharing.

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