Guide to Evaluating Rural Extension

The Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) have developed this guide to evaluating rural extension with the aim to provide comprehensive support for people involved in extention evaluations so they know how to choose and conduct more "comprehensive, rigorous, credible and useful evaluations." (GFRAS 2012 p2).

Defining rural extension as "rural or agricultural advisory services", this guide provides an easily digested reasoning as to the importance of developing monitoring and evaluation systems that are based on results frameworks and theories of change that look beyond simply measuring quantifiable outputs and activities to broader and generally more long term monitoring outcome and Impacts. It highlights the benefits of participatory monitoring as a way to increase stakeholder capacity and ownership of a projects as wells as offering a tool for actors to think critically about their own work and  help identify ways to improve it. This means seeing monitoring as a way to produce information about performance and increase the sustainability and effectiveness of an intervention.

Evaluators are reminded about the significance of "best fit" evaluation interventions and that while all the necessary tools and funding might be available,  careful consideration must be given to understand the specific players, needs, goals and context in which the evaluations is taking place. "The main conclusion of virtually al extension evaluations is that there is no perfect  system or option". (GFRAS 2012 p.29)

While this guide is specifically designed for use in rural extension many of the examples and guidance frameworks for applied design and analysis could be adapted to complex intervention evaluations in alternative contexts.

Excerpt

This example is taken from p.8 of GFRAS (2012) Guide to Evaluating Rural Extension

Contents

  • Why do we need a special guide to evaluate extension?
  • Designing extension evaluation
  • Challenges in evaluating extension interventions
  • Evaluating best-fit of extension interventions
  • Evaluating pluralism
  • Evaluating accountability to clients
  • Assessing human resource challenges in extension evaluations
  • Evaluating the sustainability of extension interventions
  • Looking forward: Enhancing and ensuring the utility of extension evaluation

Source

Christoplos I, Sandison P, Chipeta S. (2012). Guide to Evaluating Rural Extension. Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS), Lindau, Switzerland. Retrieved from http://www.g-fras.org/en/101-guide-to-extension-evaluation

Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) http://www.g-fras.org/en/

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Author
Research Assistant, RMIT University.
Melbourne.

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