We’re excited to have several EnCompass team members participating in Eval20: Reimagined, the American Evaluation Association (AEA) conference this week, October 27–30. This year’s theme, “How will you shine your light?” speaks to evaluation’s role in creating a better world.

With the conference moving to a fully virtual format for the first time this year, fewer session slots were available. And so, we are especially proud of team members who will be presenting this year. On Friday, MEL Specialist Kirsten Zeiter will facilitate a roundtable discussion with Donna Podems (an ELC instructor), Svetlana Negroustoueva, and Kelsey Simmons on using a social justice lens to shine a light on rigor in evaluation. Ms. Zeiter chairs the AEA’s topical interest group on Feminist Issues in Evaluation.

Several other team members have poster presentations, which registered participants can view all week. Beeta Tahmassebi, Vice President of Special Initiatives and President-Elect of Washington Evaluators for 2020 (2021 President), has a poster with Yao Zhang Hill (University of Hawaii at Manoa) and Margaret Hutzel (Ohio Program Evaluators Group, Ohio University) on their work with AEA affiliates to support the next generation of evaluators.

We’re also proud of the many members of our team for the USAID Transform: Primary Health Care project who have three poster presentations related to research and analysis on male engagement and gender-based violence in Ethiopia.

Dates, times, and brief descriptions follow. Please find us on Twitter at @EnCompass_World and use the hashtag #Eval20 for updates throughout the week. We’ll also be sharing updates from some of our EnCompass Learning Center instructors who are shining their own lights at this year’s virtual conference.

Roundtable Discussion: Shining a Feminist Light on Rigor in Evaluation

October 30, 10–10:45 a.m. Eastern time, facilitated by Kirsten Zeiter

Abstract: Evaluators proposing to work with a feminist or other social justice lens are often asked some variation of the question: “But how will we ensure rigor?” This roundtable applies a feminist, social justice lens to “shine a light” on rigor in evaluation. Through an interactive discussion, we will explore how rigor is understood in evaluation, and how a social justice lens—drawing on feminist evaluation approaches—enhances that understanding. The discussion will explore how feminist evaluation principles can nuance an evaluator’s understanding of rigor, and how evaluators can, often without realizing, privilege assumptions of “objectivity” rather than critically examining power dynamics, the role and identity of the evaluator, gendered and racial assumptions, and other important questions asked by a social justice approach. We will draw on real life experiences globally with donors, nonprofits, government, and foundation-funded evaluations to show that this is not an “either/or” but a “both/and.”

Poster Presentations

Helping the Next Generation of Evaluators Shine: How AEA Affiliates Are Lighting the Way

Beeta Tahmassebi, Yao Zhang Hill, and Margaret Hutzel

Abstract: Washington Evaluators (WE) is devoted to strengthening the evaluation community in the D.C. area and one of our key constituencies for engagement with Evaluation without Borders, our University Ambassador Program, and our New Professional Scholarship, WE is helping to recruit and educate the next generation of evaluators. Through partnerships with other organizations, we are expanding our reach and helping to publicize conferences, fairs and other educational opportunities to student members. WE will share insights into the range of activities we offer and our vision for how affiliates can help to meet the needs of young and emerging evaluators.

Shining Light on Men’s Lack of Support for Family Planning through Appreciative and Participatory Approaches to Gender Analysis in Ethiopia

Dustin Smith, Heran Tadesse, Kidest Lulu, and Diana Santillán

Abstract: When researchers empower participants to shape conversations, studies focused on one specific purpose can shine light on other, less explored areas of inquiry. The USAID Transform: Primary Health Care project conducted a gender analysis in 2018 to determine gender gaps and opportunities related to the quality of primary healthcare services. This analysis used participatory and appreciative approaches to qualitative data collection, fully grounding the gender analysis in participants’ voices and experiences. The analysis thereby captured a rich set of data that extended beyond the original research mandate and illuminated a largely underexplored topic in rural Ethiopia: barriers that men face in supporting family planning.

Using Regional Case Studies for National Action Planning: USAID Transform’s Landscape Analysis of Gender-Based Violence in Ethiopia

Shailee Ghelani, Dustin Smith, Heran Tadesse, Kidest Lulu, and Diana Santillán

Abstract: In Ethiopia, girls and women face many forms of gender-based violence (GBV) rooted in unequal power dynamics between women and men, which hinder women’s and girls’ development, health, livelihood, and physical and mental well-being. In response to knowledge gaps about the scope and quality of GBV prevention and response services, the USAID/Ethiopia Transform: Primary Health Care project conducted a GBV landscape analysis to comprehensively understand the health system’s existing services. This landscape analysis was the first of its kind in Ethiopia and informed key actions that the project is currently implementing with Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Health to improve the quality of GBV prevention and response services.

Evaluation for Adaptation: Adapting an Evidence-Based Intervention from Rwanda to Ethiopia

Elizabeth Stones, Dustin Smith, Natalie Petrulla, Shailee Ghelani, Heran Tadesse, Kidest Lulu, and Diana Santillán

Abstract: The USAID Transform: Primary Health Care project supports the Ethiopian government in strengthening health systems to prevent child and maternal deaths. The project’s 2018 gender analysis identified intimate partner violence and male opposition to family planning as drivers for underutilization of reproductive and maternal health services. A follow-up literature review on male engagement for improved maternal and child health outcomes identified Promundo’s Program P as an evidence-based intervention to be adapted to the Ethiopian context and implemented in project regions.