Vale Marie Gervais

Alice Macfarlan's picture 18th January 2021 by Alice Macfarlan

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.

Marie was an active Board member of the Société québécoise d’évaluation de programme (SQEP), active in the establishment of the Francophone Network of Emerging Evaluators (RF-Ee), member of the Editorial Board of the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, and member of the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) Credentialling Board.  She was also Vice-President of the International Organisation for Co-operation in Evaluation (IOCE) and Co-chair of EvalYouth. Her contributions were recognised by the 2007 SQEP Recognition Award, the 2012 CES Contribution to Evaluation in Canada award, and the 2019 Réseau Francophone de l'Evaluation (RFE) Prize for contribution to the development of evaluation in a francophone environment.

In this video from the 2015 Global Evaluation Week, Marie discusses the Global Evaluation Agenda (EvalAgenda2020), which aims to strengthen the enabling environment for evaluation, develop institutional capacities, build individual capacities, and support interlinkages between initiatives and partners. (Video in French with closed captions available in other languages). More information on EvalAgenda 2020 is available in French, English and Spanish.

In this video from the 2nd EvalYouth conference in 2018, Marie discusses how young and emerging evaluators can contribute to creating an enabling environment for evaluation.  EvalYouth set a benchmark by providing the video in the original English, and also providing simultaneous translation in French, Spanish, Russian)

In terms of the ideas Marie shared about evaluation practice, one of her contributions was to introduce the use of the TRIAGE process in evaluation. TRIAGE (Technique for Research of Information by Animation of a Group of Experts)  is a systematic process for group consensus developed by Plante and Cote in 1993.  In a paper published in the Evaluation Journal of Australasia in 2002, Marie and her colleague Geneviève Pépin explained how this could be used during an evaluation – such as identifying and prioritising key evaluation questions or potential indicators to use in an evaluation or a monitoring and evaluation system. 

I was honoured to work with Marie several times, and to benefit from her generous support and encouragement to use French in my work.  In 2005 Marie assisted me to present a paper in the French language stream of the combined AEA-CES conference in Toronto. 

Later, we worked together to write a chapter on evaluating capacity development in the first French language evaluation textbook Approches et pratiques en évaluation de programmes, published in 2009. We revised and expanded this for the second edition in 2013.  In the chapter we argued for thinking about evaluation capacity development not only in terms of developing evaluators’ skills in conducting evaluations, but also considering the individual and organisational capacities of those managing and using evaluations, and paying attention to all stages of evaluation, not only to data collection and analysis.

We discussed many times how we might make BetterEvaluation more useful for French-speaking evaluators and those who manage and use evaluation, and I look forward to realising some of these visions in the future.

Marie’s family have invited those who would like to make a donation to commemorate Marie to donate to UNICEF.  

 

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