Monday 2 January 2012

Good Resolutions for 2012

A very healthy and happy 2012 to everyone! At the beginning of this new year I realise how busy and stimulating 2011 was for me: I led two multi-country evaluations and two "strategic reviews", all in the complex fields of human rights, gender justice and peace building. Early in the year, I completed a "real-time" evaluation that had accompanied, over almost three years, the development of a facilitation method for strategic planning in conflict contexts. In October, I applied aspects of that method to plan and facilitate a multi-stakeholder, multi-lingual and inter-continental strategic planning workshop - an exhilarating experience. Between Christmas and New Year's Day, my occasional associate Jasmin Rocha and I made time to finally write up our article that presents the methodology we developed in 2010 to assess quality in work with survivors of violence against women.
What are my resolutions for 2012? I can think of a few:
  • Insist on working in teams! Combining an "international" evaluator with a "local" expert has proven highly productive. I have also excellent experience working in tandem with academic researchers (like Jasmin Rocha, mentioned above!) who know lots about the possibilities (and pitfalls) of methods in social research.
  • Convince clients to publish more of their monitoring and evaluation work! So much work is being done on building monitoring systems, on training people in monitoring, on evaluating development interventions - and so little of it is being shared. There are encouraging web-based initiatives to share monitoring & evaluation (M&E) knowledge, such as AWID's Monitoring and Evaluation Wiki. I vow to use them even more and more interactively - i.e. by posting contributions as well. Now, when it comes to sharing the actual findings, sharing seems more difficult. Many organisations that commission evaluations are shy to publicise any lessons learned. A lost opportunity. In the meantime, I'll do my best to -
  • Share more of the insights I gain in evaluations! Often, contractual obligations prevent me from publishing extracts from actual evaluation reports. But I will continue to spread broader ("anonymised") insights, both on methodologies and on the matters examined, in this blog and elsewhere.
And I will brace myself again for many new surprises - my assignments invariably turn out to be different from what I had imagined in the beginning-; I will factor in flexibility but plan and implement my holidays; and talking about holidays, I must return to my knitting now... 

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