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Participation in evaluation: Q&A With Irene Guijt and Leslie Groves

In response to popular demand, Irene Guijt and Leslie Groves are holding a Q&A on the reflections presented in their blog series on participation in evaluation. Please join us on Wednesday 29th July from 12:00- 13:00 British Summer Time (click here for timezone convertor).

29th July, 2015
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List of submitted questions

Last updated 12:15pm, 29th July 2015 AEST time.

  1. Do you have any advice to provide a compelling argument to senior management to encourage them to adopt participatory practices in evaluation? 
  2. I am involved in piloting an approach to impact evaluation of community based rehabilitation (services and support for people with disabilities), in low income settings.  One of our aims is to make this as participatory as possible.  Has anyone out there done anything similar?  Have Irene and Leslie come across any really actively inclusive approaches ?  we haven't found many!
  3. At times, participation is costly time-wise and financially; how do you ensure meaningful participation for a specific evaluation project considering these two factors?
  4. You seem to suggest that participatory evaluations are inherently better: more relevant to beneficiaries, more effective at gathering better data, longer-term impact through greater empowerment. Is that correct, is there evidence on this question?
    You refer to private sector evaluations as being inherently participatory, driven by need to listen to the client. Do you have experience that staves this? Private sector is also driven by the need to keep a brand 'clean'.
  5. In your second article (about power relations), you mostly discuss power relation between the evaluator and stakeholders, but don't really discuss dealing with power relations in the "community" (or beneficiaries), which is an important issue in many developing countries.  Do you have some specific comments or strategies to suggest - such as when to "utilize" the village elites and when to firmly encourage other people to participate? 
  6. When (in what condition) we can say that participatory evaluation doesn't work. For example, in a maternal neonatal health program, health providers in community health centers provided great inputs in FGD about service improvement and the program adopted some of them formally, but there seems to be no improvement in their routine practices. Can we count this as not working? What processes might we put in place to follow up on actual change?
  7. I'm interested in scope to combine participatory and realist approaches to evaluation - do you have any experience of or thoughts on this?
  8. What are tips for a fair balance between time using, decision making on methodologies and participation.
  9. Does participative evaluation assume participative goal-setting as necessary precondition for success? If goals are not set collectively, how legitimate is a participatory evaluation?
  10. How can ethics and confidentiality be taken into consideration, whilst ensuring that all those important to the evaluation (project implementers, stakeholders and beneficiaries) are involved in the evaluation process?
    There are different levels of citizen participation, from informing, consultation, partnership, delegated power and citizen control.How can we incorporate these levels of participation when undertaking evaluations? as are there degrees of participation that evaluators can adhere to when undertaking an evaluation?
  11. How does a gender-equality approach play with participatory techniques? What needs to be added to bring the best of these two approaches?
  12. In many cases when public institutions, ONG´s and others entites responsible for the management of evaluation, require applying participatory approaches and suggest some qualitative methods for collecting information such as interview, focus group, among others.
    Generally the ToR are defining by the staff of the program or project without taking into account the point of view of beneficiary population. The methodological proposal is defined by the evaluation consultant and is discussed with the staff, without stakeholders participation. Once the proposal is approved, the evaluation consultant gather information, analyze and generate the evaluation report; which is delivered to the managers of the evaluation. Feedback is received from the program/project staff.
    Under what type of participation we can qualify all this process?
    How we can qualify this participation on evaluation?
  13. When your stakeholders range from sponsors to beneficiaries, do you separate the evaluation sessions to overcome any power imbalance in the session?
  14. Considering that stakeholders sometimes have their own agendas and expectations, to what extent may stakeholder participation derail the evaluation from the initial evaluation goals? Is this a risk of participation in evaluation? How may an evaluator overcome the stakeholders' influence to the changing the perspective of the evaluation from initial goals. Is there such a balance between what the participant suggests and what the evaluations hopes to achieve? 
  15. "1. If possible, would love to hear how you have seen DFID, UNICEF and/or MasterCard progress in terms of their work on participatory evaluation - where it's going well, why is this? What are the drivers of good/improved practice? Where there are challenges, why is this? What are the barriers? Does it relate to the different approaches taken as outlined in your blog?

    2. Fully agree that currently the incentives for development agencies to meaningfully engage beneficaries in evaluation processes are weak. What do you see as the best approach(es) to tackling this? Where shoud an organistaion like Bond invest its energy in terms of pushing this agenda forward? Interested to hear more on your thoughts re engaging the full range of players involved (i.e. funder, implementer, evaluation commissioner and consultant/team, local partners, beneficaries etc.) to tackle this long-standing challenge! "

We are still taking questions, so submit your question through the Q&A registration form (no problem if you've already registered and want to submit (another) question)!

Q&A Details

An audio recording of the Q&A will be made available on BetterEvaluation.

To maximise time available for interactive discussion and responding to questions, we will assume that participants have read the blog series.

The Q&A will be divided into two parts:

  1. Responding to key questions submitted in advance by participants during the registration process. We will put these on the site before starting the Q&A.
  2. Discussion with participants on emerging, live questions.

Do join us on the 29th as we take forward these important discussions on participation in evaluation.

Click here to send your questions and register to the webinar.

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