Fellow evaluators and evaluation supporters: This week, EnCompass team members are at the American Evaluation Association’s conference in Minneapolis. Follow us at @EnCompass_World or the conference hashtag #Eval19 for live updates, photos, and quotes from these sessions (summaries below) and more from the conference!
Professional Development Workshop
Evaluating Our Way to Smarter Organizations: Evaluation Leadership and Contribution
November 13, 9 a.m. EST, Jonathan Jones and Lynne Franco
A first step for any evaluation is to understand a program’s or organization’s theory of change, which makes explicit the ideas about how the program or intervention is supposed to bring about the desired results. This workshop will focus on the use of Appreciative Inquiry techniques (storytelling) and participatory processes that help evaluators become neutral facilitators who explain and populate the theory of change to develop an “outcome map,” and ask questions that help us get ever clearer about goals, definitions, boundaries, perspectives, and meaning.
Virtual Conference – Join in Person or Online!
Paths to the Future of Evaluation: Up Close and Personal with Tessie Catsambas
November 13, 4:15 p.m. EST, Tessie Catsambas. Click here to join the Virtual Conference livestream.
AEA President Tessie Tzavaras Catsambas and other speakers will welcome and situate us in the mental space for our conference. What we value and honor guides us, what we chose to lead grows, and who we invite to the table influences and creates the future. Ms. Catsambas will share her perspective on the most important priorities and questions in evaluation today and invite all participants to step into the conference to contribute ideas and questions to weave our paths to the future of evaluation.
Gender Equality and Evaluation
Innovative Approaches for Gender Analysis: Recent Examples from Ethiopia and Lebanon
November 14, 12:30 p.m. EST, Diana Santillán and Dustin Smith
Global gender equality efforts require innovative evaluation approaches. Highlighting examples from Ethiopia and Lebanon, EnCompass will share its participatory, appreciative, systems-based, and utilization-focused approach to gender analysis. This unique approach aims to maximize usefulness of gender equality data for improved programming. Our systems-based framework helps identify needs at multiple social levels, examining how components of the whole gender system work together to support or hinder gender equality. Engaging data users from beginning to end empowers them to use the gender analysis data to directly inform and strengthen their development programs.
What Gender Reveals: Unexpected Gender Findings in International Evaluation
November 14, 3:45 p.m. EST, chaired by Kirsten Zeiter
This session will use evaluation case studies from Bolivia, Uganda, Malawi, and Nepal to explore the implications and provide valuable techniques for integrating gender into evaluation design, methods, and analysis. The aim is to demonstrate the valuable and varied role gender can play at different phases of the evaluation cycle, and why it’s important to plan for a gender analysis in every evaluation, even when you might not expect it.
More Presidential Strand Sessions
Elevating Our Game along Innovative Pathways to the Future: Before It’s Too Late!
November 14, 9 a.m. EST, chaired by Tessie Catsambas
Accelerating climate change has generated urgent calls for new ways of thinking and approaches for facilitating global systems transformation. This session will explore a wide range of innovative pathways that might elevate the role and importance of evaluation in the systems-level social problem-solving likely to be required for a better future. We will discuss how transforming evaluation means treating the whole Earth (our Blue Marble) as the evaluand. The session will emphasize the urgency of encouraging future evaluators to think “outside of the box” or beyond the traditional program evaluation approaches.
Strategies for Building Evaluation Capacity in International Organizations: Lessons from Government, Nongovernmental, Multilateral, and Private Sector Organizations
November 14, 4:45 p.m. EST, chaired by Beeta Tahmassebi
This panel discussion will support peer sharing around strategies and challenges for building evaluation capacity in international organizations. Panelists from a bilateral government agency, international multilateral organizations, the private sector, and the nonprofit sector will share strategies they have used to build evaluation capacity in their organizations and across borders. Topics will include success factors of initiatives aiming at building leadership demand and staff capacity for generating and using evidence from evaluation, and challenges and opportunities for sustaining evaluation capacity over time.
The professionalization of evaluation practice and evaluators as individuals evokes strong emotions among discussants and observers. What does it mean to be an evaluation professional in 2019? The answers are technical, ethical, practical, and relational. Our challenge is partly due to the widespread, global changes in the nature of professional work and the fluidity of the boundaries between evaluation and other fields. Building from the 2018 adoption of the AEA Evaluator Competencies, this panel will address critical issues in evaluation and share visions of evaluation into the future.
The Future of AEA’s Evaluator Competencies – What should we do with them?
November 15, 3:15 p.m. EST, Tessie Catsambas
The 2019 conference theme, Paths to the Future of Evaluation: Contribution, Leadership, and Renewal, perfectly positions AEA’s commitment to professionalism. Formed in 2015, the Evaluator Competencies Task Force (CTF) had two charges. The first was to develop AEA-endorsed competencies. The second was to systematically engage AEA membership in discussions about the professionalization of the field. In May 2018, the Board approved a five-domain set of competencies. The CTF suggested future steps must address broader issues related to professionalization. The Board has tasked AEA’s Executive Director to create a Competency Working Group (CWG) to determine next steps, including processes to use and recognize evaluator competencies. Today’s listening post marks the beginning of thoughtful dialog about appropriate next steps and broader issues to frame the CWG’s work. Strategies to engage the audience in this dialog will use a World Café protocol.