Evaluation 2015: Exemplary Evaluations in a Multicultural World

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Culturally Aware Monitoring and Evaluation through the Peace Corps

Session Number: 2922
Track: International and Cross Cultural Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Tags: "hard to reach" populations, Evaluation capacity building, Evaluation System, Institutionalization of evaluation, Intercultural Evaluation, volunteerism
Session Chair: Joanie Cohen-Mitchell, Ed. D. [U.S. Peace Corps]
Discussant: Kimberly Norris [Peace Corps]
Presenter 1: Joanie Cohen-Mitchell, Ed.D. [U.S. Peace Corps]
Presenter 2: Kimberly Norris [Peace Corps]
Presenter 3: Aleya Horn Kennedy, MPP [US Peace Corps]
Presenter 4: Betsy Vegso [US Peace Corps]
Time: Nov 12, 2015 (04:45 PM - 06:15 PM)
Room: Columbus H

Abstract 1 Title: Peace Corps Project Design and M&E System Endorsement Process
Presentation Abstract 1: The monitoring and evaluation (M&E) planning and implementation process begins during stakeholder and theory-based project design. Panelist will present planning components associated with Peace Corps M&E to include design, assessment and endorsement process for each country’s project frameworks that focus in goals, objectives, and key activities, as well as identifying key organizational and/or post-defined indicators appropriate for measuring progress toward project goals and objectives through anticipated activities. Along with project frameworks, M&E plans for projects are reviewed, feedback provided, and revised until endorsed as appropriate for meeting project M&E, reporting, and decision-making expectations.
Abstract 2 Title: Peace Corps Monitoring and Evaluation Preparation of Field Staff, Volunteers and Community Members Served
Presentation Abstract 2: Volunteers work on a project in a remote site for more than two years. During this time, in addition to sharing language and cultural learning with community members, Volunteers conduct participatory community needs assessments, determine primary activities that dovetail between community needs and project framework goals and objectives, and design with community members a data collection, data quality assurance, and data recording protocol. Panelist will describe how preparation for culturally appropriate needs assessment, data collection, on-line recording, and data quality assessment begins in pre-service training for Volunteers, along with in-service training involving Volunteers and host-country partners. Host country program and evaluation staff are trained on processes and feedback points to manage Volunteer programmatic and monitoring activities, and to ensure data quality throughout data collection and recording processes.
Abstract 3 Title: Peace Corps Online Volunteer Recording System - Maintaining High Quality Real Time Data for Reporting and Decision-Making
Presentation Abstract 3: Panelist shares online recording system and how it overcomes challenges presented as a result of matching Volunteer site placement to host country need, regardless of site amenities to ease the process of monitoring and evaluation. Working with fast-changing technological advancements, younger Volunteer expectations and host country and site limitations, the Peace Corps has developed a flexible set of platforms and processes that enable more rapid adaptation and deployment updates while maximizing data management, quality, and feedback opportunities. This enables this unique online monitoring system to capture and reveal data real-time, provide for rapid feedback between all levels of data entry and use, and for timely reporting and strategic decision-making. The system is not without its limitations, and the panelist will share ways these are being addressed. Data feedback processes and sharing is used to build M&E capacity among host country communities, Volunteers and agency staff.
Abstract 4 Title: Peace Corps Use of Field Data to Inform Local and High-Level Strategic Decisions
Presentation Abstract 4: The Peace Corps shares data with many stakeholders at local, regional, national, and international levels. Timing for reporting is highly variable. Data quality is necessary during frequent intervals during a year. Strategic planning and budgetary decision-making does not coincide with the many project decisions regarding personnel, travel, and training needs occurring in Washington headquarters and in countries hosting Volunteers for international development work. The panelist will describe how data is used to inform micro-level Volunteer, site placement, and programmatic decisions for countries in which the Peace Corps serves, and to define, adapt, and meet programmatic goals for host countries, in order to appropriately open and close projects. Additionally, Agency strategic goals and performance objectives are assessed, modified, and addressed through data moving up through the system from the field. Ways in which data has been used to success and where data use is trending will be described.
Audience Level: Intermediate

Session Abstract: 

Since 1961, the US Peace Corps has promoted global peace through community-based development and cross-cultural understanding. Strong challenges exist in measuring international development improvements by 7,000+ Volunteers serving in more than 60 countries at any one time. Volunteers serve 2+ years in remote sites lacking modern conveniences and work with diverse cultures whose complex history with the US affects perceptions toward data gathering.  To address challenges while meeting stakeholder and Agency needs the Peace Corps implemented a comprehensive, culturally adaptable M&E system. 

Peace Corps panelists share how data management and quality are addressed to meet local needs and Volunteer constraints while permitting data aggregation, on-line reporting, and high-level programmatic and strategic decision-making: the path of data from stakeholder and theory-based project design; Volunteer training; data collection, recording, checking, analysis, reporting, and data informed decision-making, along with the key feedback loops identified and checklists to simplify critical processes along the way.

 



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Cancellation Policy: Refunds less a $50 fee will be granted for requests received in writing prior to 11:59 PM EDT October 6, 2015. Email cancellation requests to registration@eval.org. Fax request to (202) 367-2173. All refunds are processed after the meeting. After October 6, 2015 all sales are final.