Evaluation 2017: From Learning to Action

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Collaboratively Designing Theories and Measures of Change: Perspectives from a Human Rights Non-profit and Donor

Session Number: 1858
Track: Internal Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Tags: collaboration, human rights, measure development, Theories of change
Presenter 1: Brett Collins [Senior M&E Manager - War Child Canada]
Presenter 2: Giovanni P. Dazzo [Evaluation Specialist - U.S. Department of State]
Session Facilitator: Giovanni P. Dazzo [Evaluation Specialist - U.S. Department of State]
Time: Nov 11, 2017 (10:15 AM - 11:00 AM)
Room: Maryland A

Abstract 1 Title: Using theories of change and collaboration to support monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning
Presentation Abstract 1:

Many NGOs and donors continue to evolve their M&E systems away from a focus on individual projects and outputs towards a greater emphasis on outcomes and learning. Using a theory of change approach can move this project forward and yield a more strategic, outcome focused and ultimately more useful M&E system.

The presenter will discuss two collaborative processes that War Child Canada undertook: the development of theories of change for the organization’s three programming areas (education, livelihoods and justice) and the development of a monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning framework. Outcomes from these processes include the continued development of a set of common performance indicators and M&E measurement and visualization tools centered on the organization’s strategic focus.

Lessons learned and challenges from the process will be shared to assist NGOs, donors and other organizations embarking on a similar project.


Abstract 2 Title: Measuring what matters: How funders can co-design common measures with grantees
Presentation Abstract 2:

Standard measures are often provided to grantees by their funders, with little discussion on information needs or an understanding of grantees’ evaluation capacities. This approach, while effective in meeting funder requirements, can lead to measures that grantees consider irrelevant or unmeasurable.

This presentation will draw examples from a funder’s experiences in co-designing common measures with a group of human rights organizations, and how this opportunity was not only used to engage grantees on this effort, but to also build evaluation capacity and trust.

In this panel, the presenter will demonstrate how interactive strategies, such as the graffiti-carousel exercise and group data analysis, were used to facilitate discussions about the types of measures considered useful to grantees. Additional tips on data visualization, including the creation of digital flipcharts and Sankey diagrams, will also be shared to illustrate how these tools can further facilitate engagement.


Theme: Learning About Evaluation Use and Users
Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Evaluation can often seem unapproachable or time-consuming for grantees and program staff, especially when topics like theories of change and measures are introduced. Meaningfully engaging these groups in the design of these theories and measures of change, however, can improve the likelihood that evaluation tools become more than static documents or abstract concepts.

This session will include the perspectives of internal evaluators from an international non-profit, War Child Canada, and grantmaking agency, the Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL). Panelists will demonstrate—from a non-profit and donor perspective—how they each used collaborative approaches to design theories of change and measures alongside program staff and grantees.

Presenters will also highlight the particular challenges of these internal evaluation processes in each environment and how obstacles were overcome, with the aim of assisting those interested in undertaking similar processes.



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Cancellation Policy: Refunds less a $50 fee will be granted for requests received in writing prior to 11:59 PM EDT October 16, 2017. Email cancellation requests to registration@eval.org. Fax request to (202) 367-2173. All refunds are processed after the meeting. After October 16, 2017 all sales are final. For Evaluation 2017, international attendees and presenters who encounter complications due to the international travel environment will have up to 30 days after the event to request a refund and submit appropriate documentation. No administrative fee will apply for the international requests. The $50 fee will be waived for registrants who planned to travel into the US and experienced international travel issues.