RE: What can evaluations do in terms of capacity development? | Eval Forward

Dear Luisa and Lavinia,

Thanks for sharing your work and thinking on Evaluation of Capacity Development and the framework you are working on.

Unfortunately, many of these frameworks are useless if we do not develop the capacities of evaluators in the first place. Most frameworks are uninformative and lack of room for subjective and suitable adjustments.

For instance, you ask about participatory evaluations. Most TORs are participatory in general (I think it is always cut and paste) and indicate methods that are generic and not up to evaluation expectations. In agriculture very often evaluators are either agriculture specialists or researchers; they are not evaluators and are not able to capture the specific needs of farmers that differ one from the other despite being all farmers. Often they use blanket commonly known questions.

Participatory approaches are certainly a way to carry out a meaningful evaluation and to develop capacities of evaluands and beneficiaries, but to get there we have to make sure participation is effective and not a token. 

Here some recommendations:

  1. We need to develop capacities of evaluators on the use of participatory approaches so that they are able to understand farmers’ points of view.
  2. Develop a tool / guideline for participants on participatory sessions.
  3. Elaborate soft skills as well as on the job skills on evaluation for young and emerging evaluators
  4. Develop capacities of trainers and facilitators on how to address marginalized people and indigenous communities in line with the focus on equity and gender.
  5. Guidelines: competences on selecting evaluation organization and external evaluators (individuals). 

Isha Miranda

Independent consultant and trainer, Sri Lanka