Improving Culturally Responsive Evaluation by Recognizing Cultural Values, Indigenous Rights, Evaluation Setting, and the Culture of the Evaluator

Session Number: IPE2
Track: Indigenous Peoples in Evaluation
Session Type: TIG Multipaper
Session Chair: Nicole R Bowman, Ph.D. [President - Bowman Performance Consulting]
Presenter 1: Laura Luo [China Agriculture University]
Presenter 2: Linda Edith Lee, CE FCES [Partner - Proactive Information Services Inc]
Presenter 3: Nicola Grace [Senior Advisor - Te Puni Kokiri]
Presenter 4: Jenna LaChenaye, Ph.D. [Assistant Professor - University of Alabama at Birmingham]
Presentation 2 Additional Author: Larry K Bremner [Proactive Information Services Inc.]
Presentation 2 Additional Author: Linda Edith Lee, CE FCES [Partner - Proactive Information Services Inc]
Presentation 3 Additional Author: Nicola Grace [Senior Advisor - Te Puni Kokiri]
Time: Oct 28, 2016 (08:00 AM - 09:30 AM)
Room: M103

Abstract 1 Title: Their faith matters--reflections on conducting evaluations in the Tibetan communities in China
Presentation Abstract 1:

Many development projects in China are conducted in remote areas where indigenous/ethnic minority people live.  The Chinese ethnic minority people have rich cultural traditions.  Spirituality, including religion, is central to their worldviews and manifested in their daily lives.  This paper presents the authors’ experiences and reflections on conducting evaluations of development interventions in the Tibetan communities in China.  The Tibetan communities refer to rural villages in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and nearby provinces.   Believing in the Tibetan Buddhism, people in these communities sustain on pastoral or semi-pastoral yak herding livelihood.


Although the Tibetan Buddhism encompasses the life of the Tibetan people, most development interventions and evaluations often focus on the tangible economic benefits and neglect the spiritual dimension. And this has resulted in failed projects and ineffective evaluations. The paper concludes that a holistic, culturally responsive approach be adopted in the design and evaluation of development projects in the ethnic minority inhabited areas in China.


Abstract 2 Title: Changing our Perspective: From Needs Based to Rights Based Evaluation
Presentation Abstract 2:

This paper argues for a change of lens to move from needs based to rights based evaluation. The shift is needed so evaluators can respond to national and global contexts by changing attitudes and approaches to become responsive and inclusive. This paper will address the fundamental issue, the global movement to inclusivity and some examples of promising approaches and practices. Many evaluations focus on programs whose ‘beneficiaries’ are seen as having needs or deficits, rather than recognizing and building on assets. Often the voices of the ‘beneficiaries’ are muffled by the attitudes of those who have power and privilege leading to the use of exclusionary, paternalistic and inauthentic practices. UN conventions the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the, all speak to the right of people have to full participation in society. This rights based approach is also embedded in the global work of EvalPartners such as Gender Equity+, EvalIndigenous, and EvalYouth. Today we are compelled expand our future to one that is inclusive both in terms of voices and methods. As professionals we must to find authentic ways of giving voice and power to those most affected by the programs we evaluate, thus recognizing the rights of all to meaningful participation.

Abstract 3 Title: Indigenous programmes and their evaluation in New Zealand
Presentation Abstract 3:

Best evaluation practices in government sector in indigenous sectors are topics of interest for many. Wh?nau Ora, translated from M?ori language as family health, is an indigenous health initiative in New Zealand driven by Maori Cultural values. Its main goal is to develop an inclusive approach to providing services and opportunities to families across New Zealand. The initiative is aiming to support families as a whole, rather than focusing separately on individuals.

Wh?nau Ora is a concept underpinning work of different government departments and therefore is implemented in different ways. This paper highlights challenges and opportunities with outcomes and evaluation design supporting the notion of Wh?nau Ora in two different government agencies.  

The presenter will talk about evaluation in government departments in New Zealand and will illustrate implementation and evaluation programm by providing examples.



Abstract 4 Title: Evaluation from the Borderlands: Reconciling Cultural and Professional Values in Evaluation and Research
Presentation Abstract 4:

As a field, evaluation has its own doctrine of values and ideals.  Through training and education, we are socialized into the field and its definitions of value and professional practice.  This process, however useful for creating a unified field, is problematic for the practitioner’s cultural identity as they navigate conflicting values and practices in the dichotomy of evaluator and cultural being.  The purpose of this presentation is to explore the ways in which this mechanism manifested itself in the presenter’s own practice at the intersection of evaluator and cultural participant, specifically how evaluation training encouraged this dichotomy and how the process of addressing and reflecting on the ways these roles conflict with one another can further discussions of cultural competency/humility.


Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract: 

Improving Culturally Responsive Evaluation by Recognizing Cultural Values, Indigenous Rights, Evaluation Setting, and the Culture of the Evaluator