Evaluation 2017: From Learning to Action

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Raising the stakes: Building safety and trust in evaluations of at-risk populations

Session Number: 2511
Track: Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Issues
Session Type: Panel
Session Chair: Lynne Miller Franco [Vice President, Technical Assistance and Evaluation - EnCompass LLC]
Discussant: Lynne Miller Franco [Vice President, Technical Assistance and Evaluation - EnCompass LLC]
Presenter 1: Giovanni P. Dazzo [Evaluation Specialist - U.S. Department of State]
Presenter 2: Jordan Fischer [Evaluation Specialist - Freedom House Emergency Assistance Programs]
Presenter 3: Jonathan Jones [Associate Director, Evaluation - EnCompass LLC]
Presentation 3 Additional Author: Katherine Krueger
Time: Nov 08, 2017 (04:30 PM - 06:00 PM)
Room: Washington 6

Abstract 1 Title: Stop, Collaborate and Listen: Designing and planning evaluations that work for funders and communities
Presentation Abstract 1:

Planning and communication play an important, but often overlooked, role in evaluation. The panelist will share experiences, from a donor perspective, on planning evaluations that meet varying information needs and recruitment strategies that build trust and buy-in with at-risk populations. These examples will be drawn from the Global Equality Fund—a collaborative global effort bridging governments, companies, foundations and NGOs—which affirms a consistent global message that LGBTI rights are human rights. With this funding framework in mind, it was necessary to design an evaluation that matched the collaborative nature of this global initiative. The presenter will discuss how a flexible approach to evaluation contracting and design was used, with the aim of improving collaboration across multiple funders, grantees and the external evaluation team. Additional examples will illustrate the importance of understanding communication and power dynamics, especially when funders may need to facilitate connections between external evaluators and the community.


Abstract 2 Title: Protecting vulnerable beneficiaries as an implementing organization
Presentation Abstract 2:

Due to the emergency nature of Dignity for All’s work, beneficiaries are often still vulnerable to a wide range of threats after receiving assistance. For this reason, in addition to standard privacy and ethics concerns, Dignity staff must also consider the very real possibility that sharing certain data could put lives at immediate risk. The panelist will discuss how Dignity staff worked to balance these precautions with transparency, accuracy, and insight when under external review as part of the Global Equality Fund. Since a complete turnover of data to the evaluators was not possible due to security precautions, Dignity staff was active in both facilitating interactions between the external evaluation team and beneficiaries, as well as providing answers to follow-up questions throughout the review process. Close collaboration ensured the safety of grantees while teasing out results that showed the whole picture of Dignity’s granting mechanisms. 


Abstract 3 Title: You can have it both ways: Balancing stakeholder engagement and evaluator independence during a high risk evaluation effort.
Presentation Abstract 3:

Two members of the evaluation team will discuss strategies used to build trust with the funder, implementing partners, and beneficiaries while maintaining the integrity of the evaluation. Panelists will share facilitation techniques they used to process the ideas and concerns of stakeholders during an evaluation design workshop.  The panelists will then discuss how they collaborated with the implementer to develop a meaningful sample while protecting the security and consent of data collection participants, as well as the secure communication process used (in collaboration with the implementer) to facilitate initial outreach to participants. The panelists will also discuss in-country data collection, noting the complex intersectionalities that impact sampling in small activist communities. Finally, the panelists will share their experiences in presenting early findings to a consortium of implementers and other stakeholders for feedback. Setting a precedent of collaboration from the design phase onward built trust and enabled a meaningful evaluation process.


Theme: Learning What Works and Why
Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

In any evaluation, the protection of program partners and beneficiaries is paramount, and evaluation data collection should never put stakeholders at undue risk. This is especially true when the evaluation focuses on a population that takes on a tangible risk by participating in data collection activities. This panel will present strategies relevant to this issue from a recent evaluation of the Global Equality Fund—a collaborative global effort bridging governments, companies, foundations and NGOs—that supports LGBTI human rights defenders in 80 countries. Data collection included desk review, fieldwork and virtual interviews with subject experts, partners, grantees, and beneficiaries. The panel will include discussion from the diverse perspectives of the funder, an implementing partner, and the external evaluators. Panelists will discuss how deep collaboration during design and data collection mitigated risks to the program and beneficiaries, and built trust along the way – which led to meaningful data and useful findings.  



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