Evaluation 2017: From Learning to Action

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Shifting the balance of power: Evaluating a foundation’s effort to build local advocacy capacity in sub-Saharan Africa

Session Number: 1458
Track: Nonprofit and Foundations
Session Type: Panel
Tags: Accountability, Advocacy and policy change, Advocacy capacity assessment, capacity assessment, Capacity Development, Foundation evaluation, foundations, funder-grantee collaboration, International development
Session Chair: David Devlin-Foltz [Vice President, Impact Assessment and Executive Director, Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program - The Aspen Institute]
Discussant: David Devlin-Foltz [Vice President, Impact Assessment and Executive Director, Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program - The Aspen Institute]
Presenter 1: Helena Choi [Program Officer, Global Development and Population Program - The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation]
Presenter 2: Rhonda Schlangen [Independent Consultant - Rhonda Schlangen Consulting, LLC]
Presenter 3: Susan Y. Wood [Director of Program Learning and Evaluation - International Women's Health Coaliton (IWHC)]
Presentation 2 Additional Author: Carlisle Levine [President and CEO - BLE Solutions, LLC]
Time: Nov 08, 2017 (04:30 PM - 06:00 PM)
Room: Roosevelt 2

Abstract 1 Title: Learning by Doing: Implementing a New Advocacy Strategy
Presentation Abstract 1:

The Hewlett Foundation’s strategy for supporting local advocacy in sub-Saharan Africa responds to what we learned during the strategy development process: advocacy organizations in the Global South are too often constrained by short-term, project-based funding focused on donors’ priorities, and by technical assistance that’s poorly matched to their needs. The strategy articulates a new grant-making approaching of providing 5-year grants to intermediary organizations to support promising local organizations by providing longer-term sub-grants and tailored technical assistance. In order to learn whether this approach would lead to greater capacity among local advocacy organizations, and whether that in turn would contribute to more effective and impactful advocacy on the ground, the Foundation engaged the Aspen Institute’s APEP as an evaluation partner. The presentation will focus on what have been some highlights and areas of challenges in implementing the advocacy strategy, and how the evaluation is helping us all on this learning journey.


Abstract 2 Title: Designing the Measurement System
Presentation Abstract 2:

The Aspen Institute’s APEP team sought to design a monitoring, evaluation and learning process for Hewlett’s new FPRH advocacy strategy that fit into the slipstream of grantee and subgrantees’ ongoing processes and reinforced the principles of mutual accountability embodied in the new strategy, while helping the Foundation and grantees speak with a common evaluative language. A critical aspect of this is measuring changes in advocacy capacity in a way that aligns with the diversity of interventions employed, subgrantees’ ownership of their own capacity development, and connections between changes in advocacy capacity and advocacy effectiveness. We’ll also discuss efforts to develop feedback loops that enhance critical reflection and analysis of progress, and support mutual accountability. We will discuss what we’ve learned about building on grantees’ and subgrantees’ existing systems --without overwhelming or overburdening Hewlett’s grantees-- and facilitating learning across the portfolio.


Abstract 3 Title: Learning Up and Down: Perspectives on measuring and supporting advocacy
Presentation Abstract 3:

The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) has been advocating for sexual and reproductive health and rights globally for more than 30 years, and support for advocacy organizations working at the national level in the Global South has been integral to its strategy. IWHC has developed metrics for monitoring its investments in grantees, primarily focused on their institutional capacity, including indicators of advocacy capacity. As a grantee of the Hewlett Foundation’s International Reproductive Health Program’s initiative to strengthen advocacy, IWHC has participated in APEP’s development of a measurement system that will serve the needs of the Foundation, IWHC, and our grantee partners. This presentation will focus on what IWHC has learned from this experience so far about approaches to assessing grantees’ advocacy capacity, improved ways to evaluate the effectiveness of IWHC’s financial and technical support to these organizations, and strategies to measure the results of their advocacy in the longer term.


Theme: Learning to Enhance Evaluation
Audience Level: Intermediate

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Foundations that are supporting local ownership of international development solutions need to learn about structures and practices that will drive sustainable action. In this session we’ll discuss related efforts of the Hewlett Foundation and its evaluation partner, the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program (APEP). Presented from the perspectives of the foundation, evaluators and grantees, the session will focus on:

  • Design and use of monitoring, evaluation, and feedback loops to help a foundation and its grantees learn about whether a new advocacy strategy is working;
  • Developmental evaluation that embodies the principles and practices of mutual accountability, locally-driven advocacy capacity development and advocacy objectives; and
  • Evaluation to help funders and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) learn about whether the support they provide adds value to local organizations in East and West Africa.

We’ll discuss early lessons about what has worked well, and hasn’t, in this and 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.