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.
- 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.