The Value of Evaluation Design in Measuring the Impact of Democracy and Governance in Closing Spaces and Challenging Environments

Session Number: 2186
Track: Democracy and Governance
Session Type: Roundtable
Tags: democratic evaluation, Evaluability, evaluator roles, program development
Session Facilitator: Denise Baer, 85409 [Evaluation Officer - Center for International Private Enterprise]
First Author or Discussion Group Leader: Denise Baer, 85409 [Evaluation Officer - Center for International Private Enterprise]
Second Author or Discussion Group Leader: Linda Stern [Director of Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning - National Democratic Institute]
Third Author or Discussion Group Leader: Danuta Dobosz [Department Director - Solidarity Center]
Fourth Author or Discussion Group Leader: Imara Dunovant Crooms [Evaluation Officer - International Republican Institute]
Time: Oct 27, 2016 (07:00 AM - 07:45 AM)
Room: L405

Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract: 

The link between program design and evaluation design is even more central in democratization work today than ever before.  At its inception, democracy programs focus on developing skills in democratic governance and practice, providing a foundation for democratic institutions and civil society that strengthen and promote human rights and inclusive development. Today, more and more governments are enacting legal constraints on the operation of civil society groups. While countries undergoing civil unrest or experiencing high levels of corruption have other challenges that impede reforms. Stability, security, reform and institutional capacity are all threatened in such precarious country context, and have the most to benefit from evaluation and learning. And while learning from evaluation is at the core of evaluation practice, it can be specifically empowering and challenging within the democracy environment. The four core institutions of the National Endowment for Democracy – National Democratic Institute, International Republican Institute, Solidarity Center, and the Center for International Private Enterprise share best practices and lessons learned on their recent experiences conducting program development and evaluation in closing spaces and challenging environments. Evaluations within a democracy context are intended to be practical and yet be empowering- promoting self determination and learning with its effects possibly extending to the country level. This discussion will touch upon how these organizations use evaluation to improve and inform democracy and governance programs, as well as what standards are relevant in developing research and evaluation design within restrictive contexts.