Happy New Year! The International Year of Evaluation has ended and a new year has begun.
We're delighted to have been part of the celebrations and discussions about an agenda for international evaluation for the future - and to be planning to contribute to the next steps in improving evaluation theory and practice around the world.
Here are some reflections back on the year that was - and some sneak peeks at the year ahead.
2015 International Year of Evaluation
Nearly 100 official EvalYear events were held, from 17 December 2014, which saw the adoption of the UN resolution on evaluation celebrated and the Evaluation Torch officially lit to welcome in EvalYear, right through to the 30-31st of December 2015, where a two-day conference on 'The Role of Monitoring & Evaluation in Evidence BAsed Policy Making' was held in Pakistan.
Of course, there were also a number of unofficial EvalYear events as the wider evaluation community became involved in the EvalYear momentum.
Launching a draft evaluation policy for comment
A presentation and discussion to learn about strategies to develop evaluation capacity being used in another federal government department (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
A presentation and discussion about strategies for embedding high quality evaluation in the public sector
Patricia Rogers was delighted to represent BetterEvaluation at the EvalYear celebrations, and have the opportunity to hold up their replica evaluation torch and share the tasty evaluation torch cake, baked by Liz Cotton from the Evaluation Unit.
Patricia Rogers (left) and Benedikte Jensen, Policy Analysis and Implementation Division (PAID) (right), cutting the EvalTorch Cake to celebrate EvalYear.
BetterEvaluation in 2015
We've had a pretty big year ourselves in 2016. We're really chuffed to be able to say that from January through December last year:
There have been 929,387 sessions on the BetterEvaluation website (up 66% from the previous year), which includes over 100,000 sessions per month in October and November
We were visited by users from 217 countries - with the top ten countries with the most visitors being: the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Canada, the Philippines, Kenya, South Africa and Malaysia
- Our membership base grew to over 3,900 members, who have signed up to become part of the BetterEvaluation community, contribute content and resources, and to share expertise or questions. (If you haven't joined yet, you can do so here)
We also very sadly said good bye and good luck to our Website Coordinator, Nicholas Herft, who has taken up a new post overseas. Nick will remain a valued part of the BetterEvaluation team, but will be replaced on a day-to-day level by our new Website Administrator, Alice Macfarlan.
The coming year
We're leaping into 2016 with a number of priorities in mind and things we're excited about. We will be engaged in Research & Development and Evaluation Capacity Strengthening, especially in the following areas:
Global Evaluation - We're looking forward to hearing more about Blue Marble Evaluation - an initiative of Utilization-Focused Evaluation with the support of the Faster Forward Fund and World Savvy that aims to build the capacity of evaluators to 'Think Globally, Act Globally, and Evaluate Globally'. Look out for an upcoming post on the BetterEvaluation blog by Micheal Quinn Patton on global evaluators and why this is important.
Act local - We're just as keen on seeing more and more local engagement in the evaluation community. Attend evaluation events in your area, find your local evaluation association or society, create your own network of evaluators on whom you can call for advice. While we're a global community, it's the interaction between the global and the local that makes us strong.
Complexity - We will continue our focus on ways that evaluations can support us to better understand complex interventions, and to provide useful information to undertake them better.
Impact evaluation - We'll be supporting developments to address challenges in impact evaluation, including sharing the free webinar series that we developed in conjunction with 3IE and UNICEF. The first webinar has been released and the others are set to be released in the coming weeks so stay tuned!
Managing external evaluations - We'll be continuing our work in supporting commissioners and managers of external evaluation, and sharing this with you where possible, including guidance developed in conjunction with International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the MasterCard Foundation, and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Australia (such as the 'Choosing appropriate designs and methods for impact evaluation' report which BetterEvaluation developed with partners ARTD.
Strategies for evaluation capacity strengthening - We're very interested in opportunities for blended learning, adult learning, situated learning and strategies beyond training. We are also continuing to expand our training events and will be delivering a 2 day workshop on Innovations in Evaluation at IPDET in Ottawa in June and a 2 day short course on Evaluation for Public Sector Managers at the Australian and New Zealand School of Government.
Intergalactic Year of Evaluation - We have to say thanks to John Gargani from the American Evaluation Association for sending us this 2016 Mission Patch. While we can't promise to physically take evaluation to the intergalactic level in 2016, we'll certainly be there in spirit - and we're looking forward to the AEA's 2016 theme of evaluation and design.
We'd love to know what your 2016 evaluation goals are in the comments below, or shoot us an email!