Evaluation 2015: Exemplary Evaluations in a Multicultural World

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Decolonizing International Development Evaluation—An Exploration of Culture across Multiple Contexts

Session Number: 1295
Track: International and Cross Cultural Evaluation
Session Type: Multipaper
Session Chair: Jill Chouinard [University of North Carolina-Greensboro]
Discussant: Stafford Hood [University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign]
Presenter 1: Jill Chouinard [University of North Carolina-Greensboro]
Presenter 2: Hanife Cakici [United Nations Economic Commission for Africa ]
Presenter 3: Bagele Chilisa [University of Botswana]
Presenter 4: Kelly N. Robertson [Western Michigan University,]
Presentation 1 Additional Author: Rodney K Hopson [George Mason University]
Presentation 1 Additional Author: Akashi Kaul [George Mason University]
Time: Nov 13, 2015 (01:45 PM - 03:15 PM)
Room: Randolph

Abstract 1 Title: Towards a More Critical Exploration of Culture in International Development Evaluation
Presentation Abstract 1: The primary focus of the paper is on exploring the role culture plays in the evaluation of programs and in the development of professional evaluation associations in international development contexts. In this paper we explore how culture is conceptualized in international development contexts, focusing on what space culture occupies within these multiple, and often conflicting evaluation discourses. In this paper we ask: Who is defining the parameters of what counts as legitimate discourse? Where is culture located in our definitions of evaluation as we continue to export and expand our methodological practices across the globe?
Abstract 2 Title: Getting to the Roots of Evaluation Capacity Building in the Global South—Multiple Streams Model to Frame the Agenda Status of Evaluation in Turkey
Presentation Abstract 2: There is a growing body of research investigating the mechanisms to develop evaluation capacity in the global South, but relatively little attention has been given to an equally important question: Under what conditions does the need to conduct and use evaluations for national decision making become a high priority on the governmental agenda? This paper utilizes Kingdon’s (2003) Multiple Streams Model to understand when and how evaluation is pushed higher on the public policy agenda in the global South by using Turkey as a country case. This paper argues that evaluation capacity building in the developing world may not be successful unless evaluation is indigenously elevated as a prominent item on the government’s agenda. Turkey’s case demonstrates evaluation’s fleeting agenda status because evaluation as a policy solution has not yet become joined to a real problem despite the opening of a brief window of opportunity.
Abstract 3 Title: Towards an African Rooted Evaluation—The Evolving Principles, Theory, and Practice
Presentation Abstract 3: Efforts at making evaluation culturally relevant have become central to evaluation discourses globally. However, globally attempts at cultural responsive practice have not succeeded in incorporating African voices. Currently efforts at incorporating African voices in evaluation practice is limited to theory adjustment, instrument adaptation, involving stakeholders in the evaluation process with few attempts in developing evaluation practice, model and theory emanating from the world views, histories, cultures and philosophies of the African people. This article critiques evaluation practice and then provides a description of what an African perspective in evaluation practice and theory would look like. The article will discuss African perspectives on indigenisation of evaluation and evaluation frameworks and principles that inform an African rooted evaluation approach that emanates from African World views.
Abstract 4 Title: Consideration of Cultural and Contextual Barriers to Social Equity and Equality in International Development Evaluation Guidance Documents
Presentation Abstract 4: Several major international development organizations (e.g., UN, DFID, AusAID) have published evaluation policy and practice guidance documents that encourage a focus on social equity and equality. Given the prominence of these organizations, their recommendations could have a major influence on the way in which international development evaluations are designed and implemented. Hopson, Kirkhart, and Bledsoe (2012) argue that a focus on culture and context is critical in moving towards more “decolonized” and culturally responsive approaches to evaluation, which are thought to lead to better quality evaluation. A focus on changes in the barriers that create and/or perpetuate social disparities is key to evaluating progress towards social equity and equality; and an understanding of culture and context is vital for identifying and monitoring these barriers. In this paper I examine the extent to which international development evaluation policy and practice guidance documents provide recommendations for considering barriers to social equity and equality at various stages of the evaluation process, and discuss the implications for evaluation quality, cultural responsiveness, and the decolonization of evaluation.
Abstract 5 Title: Cultural Diversity and Representativity of Global Evaluation Policies— The New UN Resolution on Evaluation and the Evalpartners Global Evaluation Agenda.
Presentation Abstract 5: In recognition of the International Year of Evaluation currently underway, the proposed article would explore the extent to which the recently passed UN Resolution on Evaluation as well as the Evalpartners Global Evaluation Agenda 2016-2020 truly reflect the belief systems and cultural values of the whole international evaluation community whose interests they are both intended to serve. Based on an in-depth review of specialized literature pertaining the development and impact of similar international development conventions on countries' practices and conduct, as well as a number of interviews with leading evaluation professionals in different countries around the world (e.g. Africa, Latin America and Asia) characterized by different levels of both interest in the resolution and capacity to implement it, the article will pursue three main objectives. First, it will specifically assess and attempt to categorize the implications that the two policy documents will have for member states’ contemporary evaluation practices. Second, it will identify the limitations of both the content and processes associated with the development of both texts. Third, it will put forward a series of recommendations to promote further the diversity and representativity of similar international initiatives in the future.
Audience Level: Advanced
Other Information: We have a sixth presenter and I can't seem to find a place to add her:

Paper Six: A Cross-Cultural Evaluation Conversation in India— Benefits, Challenges, and Lessons Learned



Hind Al Hudib, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada halhu011@uottawa.ca

J. Bradley Cousins, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

Jayshree Oza, Technical Cooperation Agency, RMSA, New Delhi, India

Undurthy Lakshminarayana, Technical Cooperation Agency, RMSA, New Delhi, India

Vassant D Bhat, Regional Institute of Education, Mysore, India

Through a guided discussion, this paper explores a cross-cultural evaluation experience that took place over a five year period between an external evaluator from Canada and a group of local Indian evaluators. Given that the projects were based on participatory principles, the paper is a co-authorship between all evaluation participants, focusing on their experiences and perspectives, as well as the benefits and challenges they each experienced bridging Western and Indian knowledge systems. The paper begins with a conversation and moves into a cross-cultural analysis from both a Western and an Indian perspective.

Session Abstract: 

Despite the recognition that evaluation is an intensely cultural practice that is influenced by Western epistemological approaches to social inquiry, there seems to be little discussion about the broader implications of our practice in terms of highlighting the relevance of culture and context of evaluation in the international development arena. While this is a significant omission, particularly given the rather long history of Western colonialism in much of the developing world, Western evaluators are now at a watershed moment for this dialogue to occur. In this panel presenters take a look at how culture is being conceptualized in international development contexts, where culture is located in our definitions of evaluation, and how and to what extent local, marginalized and indigenous cultures are being included in the conversation.



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