Participatory Evaluation: Engaging Participants in the Evaluation Process

Session Number: CPE3
Track: Collaborative, Participatory & Empowerment Evaluation
Session Type: TIG Multipaper
Session Chair: Michael Mitchell [Teacher and Adjunct Professor - University of South Florida]
Presenter 1: Robert D Renaud [Professor - University of Manitoba]
Presenter 2: Jason Daniels [Associate Director, Evaluation and Research Services - University of Alberta]
Presenter 3: Akashi Kaul, Student [Research Assistant - George Mason University]
Presenter 4: Nils Riemenschneider [Senior Consultant - Oxford Policy Management]
Presenter 5: Carrie Lippy [Research & Evaluation Consultant - Lippy Community Consultants, LLC]
Presentation 2 Additional Author: Teresa Mejia, Community-University Partnership [Project Coordinator - University of Alberta]
Presentation 2 Additional Author: Karen Edwards, Community-University Partnership [Acting Director - University of Alberta]
Presentation 2 Additional Author: Stanley Varnhagen [Faculty Member - University of Alberta]
Presentation 4 Additional Author: Luize Guimaraes
Time: Nov 08, 2017 (04:30 PM - 06:00 PM)
Room: Jefferson

Abstract 1 Title: A participatory evaluation of a child sexual abuse prevention program: Challenges and recommendations.
Presentation Abstract 1: When evaluating a prevention program that focuses on a sensitive topic such as child sexual abuse, working with stakeholders to plan and conduct the evaluation is often crucial. While numerous methodological recommendations are outlined in previous evaluations of child sexual abuse prevention (CSAP) programs, it appears that no published evaluations of CSAP programs have focused on the challenges of participatory evaluation. Based on a recent participatory evaluation of the effectiveness of the Teatree Tells CSAP program, this presentation describes the challenges that occurred, how we responded to those challenges, and outlines recommendations for future participatory evaluations of similar prevention programs.
Presentation 1 Other Authors: Zoe St. Aubin; Noni Classen (Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Winnipeg, CANADA); Darrel Nadeau (Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Winnipeg, CANADA)
Abstract 2 Title: It’s Complicated: Evaluating Complex, Multi-Faceted, Community-based Initiatives
Presentation Abstract 2: Evaluating complex, multi-faceted, community-based initiatives effectively calls for innovative approaches. While there are, really, no one-size-fits all solutions for evaluation, some evaluations are more challenging than others. This is especially true when there are multiple partners and the outcomes of the initiative are difficult to measure. In this paper, we will discuss how we attempted to address complexity in an evaluation of a youth intervention program to provide a solution that would meet the needs of the various partners through a principles-focused approach.  We will discuss how we worked with project stakeholders to develop the principles and how we are using these principles to create an evaluation plan.
Presentation 2 Other Authors: Kirstyn Morley (; Amber Banks (;
Abstract 3 Title: Power and Participation
Presentation Abstract 3: The problem identified for the purpose of this paper is the true meaning and nature of power in the construction of ‘participation’ in collaborative evaluation processes in international development. International development is a highly contested space, with great disagreement between those with a neo-liberal outlook and those advocating a more ground-up approach to counter the power concentration in the hands of Western donors. Enter evaluation, wherein evaluators essentially ascribe value to various programs and constructs and therein naturally assume a position of power. Finally, there are local constructs of traditional and cultural power and hierarchy. In spite of being theorized and written about consistently for decades, power is a nebulous concept. There is little agreement as to what constitutes it or even how many dimensions it has. This paper uses literature to create a framework for understanding power in international development evaluation.
Abstract 4 Title: the power of beneficiary feedback in M&E
Presentation Abstract 4: Beneficiary feedback as part of M&E work has multiple benefits. They range from improved dialogue and analysis to direct cost savings. This presentation will share the experience from a five year M&E component of a human development programme. It included three rounds of beneficiary assessments. Mini-laptops, used for primary data collection, enabled in-field feedback of integrated quantitative and qualitative results. Findings were presented to several hundred parents and students, school and hospital management. A similar approach was used in subsequent work in Cape Verde and Zambia.   The authors found that ‘giving something back’ to the respondents had multiple benefits: improved analysis, improved dialogue, encouragement of local initiatives, ability to build consensus around contentious issues, and substantial costs savings, to name a few.   The purpose of the session is to discuss ‘what works’, drawing on the knowledge of the audience, and using specific programme experience to support mutual learning.
Presentation 4 Other Authors: Valentina Barca, OPM, Senior Consultant; Note: Luize Guimaraes is Senio Consultant at OPM;
Abstract 5 Title: Opportunities for co-learning: Incorporating participatory strategies in a needs assessment of homeless youth of color.
Presentation Abstract 5: Over the years, the evaluation field has seen a steady rise in the use of community-based participatory evaluation approaches. That is, approaches where evaluators and community members share decision-making power through all stages of an evaluation. These approaches provide opportunities for co-learning between evaluators and community members, expanding the capacities of both to do this work well.   This paper presents an example of a successful community-based needs assessment that examined the strengths, needs, and experiences of homeless and unstably housed youth of color. The project involved ongoing partnerships between an evaluator; community stakeholders, providers, and agencies; and youth of color. The paper will describe the numerous participatory and co-learning strategies successfully used throughout the project. It will also outline opportunities and challenges to consider when implementing these strategies in other contexts, particularly when partnering with marginalized and underserved young people.
Theme: Select one
Audience Level: None

Session Abstract (150 words):  Participatory Evaluation: Engaging Participants in the Evaluation Process