Evaluation 2015: Exemplary Evaluations in a Multicultural World

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Exemplary Evaluation Partnerships: Experiences of Global Evaluation Teams

Session Number: 1668
Track: Independent Consulting
Session Type: Panel
Tags: independent consulting, International and Cross Cultural Evaluat, international collaboration
Session Chair: Rhonda Schlangen [Rhonda Schlangen Consulting, LLC]
Discussant: Judith Kallick Russell [Kallick Russell Consulting, LLC]
Presenter 1: Rhonda Schlangen [Rhonda Schlangen Consulting, LLC]
Presenter 2: Ben Awinda [Center for Advocacy and Empowerment-Tanzania]
Presenter 3: Carlisle Levine [BLE Solutions, LLC]
Presenter 4: Toyin Akpan [Auricle Services]
Presenter 5: Amy Jersild [Faculty - SIT Graduate Institute]
Time: Nov 11, 2015 (04:30 PM - 06:00 PM)
Room: Columbus G

Abstract 1 Title: Using the Cloud: Country-Based Evaluation Teams Supported by Long-Distance Independent Evaluator Partners
Presentation Abstract 1: Developments in technology are erasing practical barriers to long-distance collaboration. Equally important, relationships with colleagues in countries where international development work takes place are enabling more dynamic collaborations. This presentation will discuss an approach made possible by these advances: an evaluation implemented by a Tanzania-based evaluation team with support from a U.S.-based evaluator. It will discuss the perspective of the U.S.-based independent evaluation consultant and will include:
- Practices that have enabled this arrangement
- Benefits of the model, and
- Lessons learned about managing long-distance and cross-cultural partnerships

Technology and relationships enable evaluation teams to be structured based on team attributes, with less emphasis on proximity to funders and drawing on a deeper range of evaluator skills. A Tanzanian-led evaluation of advocacy campaigns in that country demonstrates that this approach can produce exemplary results. Critical to leveraging this approach are managing practical challenges, like contracts, and establishing complimentary roles.
Abstract 2 Title: Locally-Owned, Locally-Led Evaluation Partnerships
Presentation Abstract 2: Development principles emphasize local ownership. Evaluation use is predicated on orientation to stakeholders’ interests and needs, meaningful participation and sharing information in ways that is relevant and accessible. Based on these influences alone, there are strong implications for grounding evaluations in local contexts and expertise. But what about the experiences of in-country independent evaluation consultants who work on assessments of development projects supported by international funders? Julie Tumbo is an independent advocacy strategist and evaluator who has lead and participated in dozens of consultancies with international development agencies and NGOs. In this presentation she will discuss learning form her experiences with a range of approaches to work with non-Tanzanian evaluation consultants. She will reflect on:
• good practices for partnership with evaluation consultants across cultures and contexts
• unseen challenges working with evaluators from outside the region the ways evaluation results are affected by these arrangements

Abstract 3 Title: Using Global Evaluation Teams to Ensure Context Knowledge, Cultural Competence and Access
Presentation Abstract 3: There is increasing recognition that understanding context and culture, as well as having access to people who are key information sources, is critical to an evaluation team’s ability to produce accurate, relevant and useful findings. For evaluations that begin with US-based evaluators but that are of projects and programs taking place in other countries, partnering with local evaluators is one way to meet that need. But how do these evaluators living in different countries find each other? How will they know that their partnership is worth trying? How do they build trust and a sense of team within a virtual partnership? What systems and practices do they establish to manage their virtual relationship? How do they decide where power should lie in terms of evaluation leadership and decision making? Evaluations of two projects that benefited from virtual global evaluation teams will provide responses to these questions.
Abstract 4 Title: Matching Evaluation Partnership Models to Program and Evaluation Needs
Presentation Abstract 4: There has been an increasing need for evaluation partnership models between US and local consultants. These models vary widely, reflecting project context and evaluation circumstances. In some cases, the partnerships are face-to-face, and in other cases, a combination of virtual and face-to-face interaction. A third model is emerging: it is completely based on virtual interactions that rely on technology. What are the practical implications of this emerging trend on consulting businesses? Which model is preferred under what circumstances and why? How can these models be better used to advance assessment of programs and projects? Toyin Akpan is a consultant providing evaluation services in Nigeria. She is currently working in a virtual partnership with a US-based evaluator. In her presentation, she will discuss her experiences using the various models. She will reflect on:
- Tools used in the different partnership models,
- Challenges of each model,
- Suggestions and lessons learned

Abstract 5 Title: Evaluating Complex Social Policy Initiatives in a Developing Country Context: Multicultural and Multinational Evaluation Teams Can Result in Exemplary Evaluation Outcomes
Presentation Abstract 5: The combining of international and national evaluators to form a team to evaluate complex interventions on social policy involving multiple stakeholders is an approach that has great potential to result in exemplary evaluation. This presentation will provide lessons learned from several evaluation experiences in Thailand and the Philippines. Addressing the nuances and complexities of child labour policy and programming, from national to local community, the presenter will illustrate how a multinational and multicultural team formed, prepared, and worked together to conduct an evaluation of programming on this socially complex issue. Issues to be discussed include approaches to creating a positive and productive dynamic among team members, the balancing of power and roles, and making use of each team member’s comparative advantage in contributing toward a successful evaluation outcome.
Audience Level: Intermediate

Session Abstract: 

Independent evaluation consultants based in the US often lead assessments of development projects implemented in other countries. This session will explore new inter-national and cross-cultural evaluation consulting partnership models that respond to emerging global development norms, emphasizing country ownership and locally driven development. They also reflect AEA’s cultural competency principles. A panel of independent evaluation consultants from Tanzania, Nigeria and the US will introduce several different consulting partnership approaches and discuss practical implications for consulting business practices.

Participant in this session will:

  • Gain insight into efforts to broaden consulting practices and change the way national and international evaluators partner;
  • Discuss strategies used to operationalize these models; and
  • Learn about how these models promise greater relevance of evaluation design, methods and data interpretation, and may also contribute to greater utilization of evaluation findings. 


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