Evaluation 2015: Exemplary Evaluations in a Multicultural World

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Empowering Local Voices in Evaluation

Session Number: ICCE5
Track: International and Cross Cultural Evaluation
Session Type: Multipaper
Session Chair: Jan Middendorf [National Science Foundation (NSF)]
Discussant: Veronica M Olazabal [The Rockefeller Foundation]
Presenter 1: Winston Allen [USAID]
Presenter 2: Kari Nelson
Presenter 3: Merle Bowen [University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign]
Presentation 3 Additional Author: Ayesha Sherita Boyce [Assistant Professor - University of North Carolina Greensboro]
Presentation 4 Additional Author: Farzana Ramzan [Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist - USAID]
Time: Nov 12, 2015 (03:00 PM - 04:30 PM)
Room: Grand Suite 2A/B

Abstract 1 Title: Participation of Local Evaluators in USAID External Evaluation Teams: What Are We Learning?
Presentation Abstract 1: As an evaluation practice, the USAID Evaluation Policy requires that evaluation specialists with appropriate expertise from partner countries lead or be included in evaluation teams. An analysis of team composition of 177 USAID external evaluations conducted between 2011 and 2014 showed that 80% of evaluations were conducted using multicultural teams. This paper presents the results of a survey of 234 local team members who participated on USAID external evaluation teams. The purpose of this survey is to provide USAID and its partners an understanding of the role that local evaluators play on evaluation teams, identify opportunities to further enhance their evaluation skills, and to contribute to building evaluation capacity in countries where USAID works. Survey results provide evidence that allow USAID to determine where local evaluation capacity exists, where it does not exit, and what is most needed to strengthen skills of local evaluators to participate in teams.
Abstract 2 Title: Voices from the Field: A Community Perspective on the Effectiveness and Relevance of International Development
Presentation Abstract 2: Aid effectiveness is often looked at from the perspective of specific projects, programs, and organizations (the micro-level) or via national level regressions (the macro-level). Through a pilot study in rural Senegal, this paper examines both the effectiveness and the relevance of international development from a mezzo perspective: that of the communities and individuals that development aid is trying to assist. The perspectives of community members are explored through surveys, interviews, and focus groups. The analysis sheds light on the extent to which projects are addressing the community's most pressing needs, the process of working with organizations and setting project priorities, and the ability of different interventions to achieve outcomes, all as seen through the eyes of community members. The findings of this pilot study suggest that the mezzo-level approach could provide significant insights into the larger discussion of Development effectiveness.
Abstract 3 Title: Engaging Stakeholders in an International Context: Lessons Learned from Brazil's African-Descent Communities
Presentation Abstract 3: Developing relationships with stakeholders across cultural borders, especially those thousands of miles away, is a challenge. Unfamiliar laws, norms, and customs complicate navigation across countries. In an effort to examine the potential pathways for economic development of quilombos, communities of descendants of Afro-Brazilian slaves, we assessed community economic development and evaluated the impact of state policies on quilombos. To access, collect data, and report findings to these communities we engaged and earned the trust of a host of Brazilian stakeholders including: 1) the National Quilombo Movement, 2) non-government organizations, 3) government agencies, and 4) elected quilombo community leaders. Our overarching goal was to influence Brazilian public policy to improve and protect quilombo community livelihoods. This presentation will highlight culturally responsive strategies and resulting successes and challenges as we engaged with multiple stakeholders. We believe this paper will be useful for evaluators working in international contexts.
Abstract 4 Title: Measuring Empowerment: How? And for Whom?
Presentation Abstract 4: The Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) is the first comprehensive and standardized measure to directly capture women's empowerment and inclusion levels in the agriculture sector. The WEAI has been used widely by organizations and individuals around the world to determine, for example, if interventions in the agriculture sector are having the intended effects on women's empowerment. The WEAI is also a diagnostic tool for identifying areas in which women and men in a particular geographic region are disempowered. Policy and programming can then be targeted toward these areas. Finally, the WEAI is used as a research tool to explore the linkages between the WEAI and well-being outcomes. This paper discusses some of the trade-offs that have to be negotiated when developing a multi-purpose monitoring and evaluation tool and fielding it in diverse cultural contexts.
Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract: 

Empowering local voices in evaluation

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