Eleanor Williams is the Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Research Evidence at the Victorian Department of Health.
We’re currently going through a global period of rapid change and adaption, due in large part to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our lives and work. As our world is changing, many individuals and organisations are finding that traditional evaluation methods are not meeting the needs of rapidly changing implementation or brand new interventions where interventions are being designed as they are implemented. It’s in this context that it’s become important to use evidence and support learning in real-time.
Before I joined TCC Group as an evaluation and learning consultant, I was a therapist. My days consisted of listening to people as they tried to navigate and make meaning of their lives. It was during this season of my life that I came to be a steadfast believer in the importance of having good facilitation skills. Good facilitation skills are essential for drawing out meaningful insights during an exchange.
Happy New Year to all our members and users. While we’re happy to wish the year 2020 farewell, many of the challenges and difficulties that arose over the past 12 months are still with us, as is the sadness over the many different forms of loss we’ve all experienced. We’re entering 2021 with a spirit of reflection, inspired by how the global community has pivoted and innovated, and determined to meet the ongoing challenges of 2021 and help our community do their best work.
Some of the things we’re proud of over the past 12 months
We were saddened to learn of the passing of Marie-Gervais in mid-December 2020. Marie, Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Laval University, Quebec, made a lasting contribution to the French-speaking evaluation community in Canada, Europe and Africa.
We wanted to honour Marie’s legacy by sharing some of the initiatives she supported and some of her ideas on improving evaluation practice.
This week we wanted to share and celebrate the important contributions to improving evaluation from John Mayne, a Fellow of the Canadian Evaluation Society and twice recipient of the CES Award for Contribution to Evaluation in Canada.
It’s one thing to look at project and program ratings to see how well the stated objectives of a portfolio of projects are being met. But without an aggregate view of what these objectives are trying to achieve, it’s difficult to fully understand how well this portfolio is contributing to an organisation’s mission and wider development goals. What’s missing is a better understanding of the links between project objectives and the types of outcomes that these are aiming to achieve.
We’re continuing our series, sharing ideas and resources on ways of ensuring that evaluation adequately responds to the new challenges during the pandemic.
Given the numerous interconnected environmental crises the world faces, there is an urgent need to include consideration of environmental impacts into all evaluations. Footprint evaluation focuses on evaluating the ‘footprint’ that human systems make on natural systems. Importantly, it includes evaluating the potential and actual environmental impacts of interventions that do not have explicit environmental objectives.
Bob Picciotto is a former Director General of the Independent Evaluation Group which oversees evaluation in the International Finance Corporation, an agency dedicated to the promotion of private sector development in developing countries. In this guest blog, he argues that the ethical investment community has much to learn from the Objectives-Based Evaluation (OBE) approach used by the multilateral development banks: OBE rates social and environmental sustainability performance as well as economic and financial returns.