Evaluation 2019: Paths to the Future of Evaluation: Contribution, Leadership, and Renewal

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Lessons learned evaluating a program that seeks the labor inclusion of vulnerable young people in contexts of social violence

Session Number: 2644
Track: Youth Focused Evaluation
Session Type: Multipaper
Tags: Central America, longitudinal evaluation, Realistic evaluation, violent contexts, youth employability
Session Chair: MARIO ROBERTO CHAVEZ CLAROS [RESEARCHER - FUSADES]
Discussant: MARIO ROBERTO CHAVEZ CLAROS [RESEARCHER - FUSADES]
Presenter 1: Margarita Beneke de Sanfeliu [Director, Center for Research and Statistics - FUSADES]
Presenter 2: Mauricio Arturo Shi
Presenter 3: Juan Carlos Duran [Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist]
Time: Nov 15, 2019 (04:30 PM - 05:30 PM)
Room: Hilton Marquette VI

Abstract 1 Title: A Longitudinal cohort study of vulnerable youth: challenges and solutions
Presentation Abstract 1:

We will share our experience evaluating the program “Youth Pathways”, implemented by Catholic Relief Services in El Salvador and Honduras, with funding from the US Department of Labor.  The first paper will provide a brief description of the project that seeks to increase the employability of youth between 16 and 24-year-olds who are unemployed and outside the formal education system, and come from areas highly impacted by violence, crime and gang presence.  We share how this context influenced and motivated decisions regarding the feasible design of the evaluation to validate the program´s theory of change, given the vulnerable and risky environments in which services are provided.  We used a longitudinal cohort study, which followed the same participant for over two years. We showed how we were able to assess the contribution of the program to the observed positive results, by using data from alternative sources and research. 


Abstract 2 Title: Fieldwork in areas with gang presence in Central America
Presentation Abstract 2:

There is increasing interest in a) evaluating programs designed to reduce youth to prevent them from joining gangs, b) conduct research on crime prevention in Central American countries.  Both activities involve fieldwork, which requires special considerations to ensure data collected meet standards to be useful for statistical or another type of analysis, while at the same time minimizing risks to subjects or field workers.  We share strategies we have applied successfully to accomplish this, including contextualizing fieldwork and defining what is possible and what is not in each particular situation

The experience we bring to this session is relevant to organizations interested in developing programs in conflicted areas to serve vulnerable populations; to practitioners that wish to design evaluations of such programs; to researchers that need to collect data in these type of contexts, or to institutions who what to commission or finance such programs or research in vulnerable areas


Abstract 3 Title: Using and sharing evaluation results to promote actions to support vulnerable youth employability
Presentation Abstract 3:

The evaluation of Youth Pathways provided some lessons learned and promising practices that were applied by the implementing partners who were responsible for delivering educational and vocational training services. We show how involving key stakeholders in the process provided a critical element that contributed to the success of the evaluation by facilitating tracking participants after their participation in the program ended.  We also share the strategy used to communicate results and lessons learned with other organizations that also aim to support vulnerable youth to achieve favorable labor insertion.   At the same time, we developed a strategy to show stakeholders the importance to use evaluation not only as an accountability mechanism but also to understand how the program works and what is the mechanisms behind the results observed.  Results are already being used to bring this program to scale by a public institution.


Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

We share our experience evaluating the program “Youth Pathways of Central America”, implemented by Catholic Relief Services in El Salvador and Honduras, with funding from the US Department of Labor. We will briefly describe the project which seeks to increase the employability of youth who are unemployed and outside the formal education system, and come from areas highly impacted by violence, crime and gang presence.  We share how this context motivated decisions regarding the selection of feasible evaluation design and data collection strategies (including safety considerations for subjects and fieldworkers). We finish sharing how we utilized evaluation results to inform program improvements, and how we shared lessons learned with other actors: private sector, public institutions and other organizations that also work with vulnerable youth.  This session is useful to those who need to conduct evaluations or research in dangerous contexts.



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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 11, 2019. Email cancellation requests to registration@eval.org. All refunds are processed after the meeting. After October 11, 2019 all sales are final. For Evaluation 2019, 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 approved international requests.