EnCompass team members are gearing up for the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Evaluation 2021 virtual conference, occurring November 8–12. The conference theme, “AEA at 35: Meeting the Moment”, encourages evaluators to reflect on ways in which the field can help to meet the global and domestic challenges we face and to better our society and planet. The conference hopes to examine how evaluation practice must transform to find new ways of approaching diversity and inclusion, social justice, equity, global systems change, and more.

This year, we will have several staff in attendance, and some who will be presenting at the conference, including: Shailee Ghelani and Elizabeth StonesBeeta Tahmassebi, our Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and current President of Washington Evaluators, will be participating and leading one of the Presidential Strands. Tessie Catsambas, EnCompass CEO/CFO and AEA past-president and current board member, will be leading a coffee chat on Trends in Evaluation during the conference.

“Our team is looking forward to the robust conversations that always come with AEA conferences, and the opportunity to reconnect with evaluators from throughout the US and around the world,” Ms. Catsambas said. “It is through our collective engagement that we can make progress toward a more equitable and sustainable future ahead.”

Follow us at @EnCompass_World or at the conference hashtag #Eval21 for live updates, photos, and quotes from these sessions (summaries below) and more from the conference!

How WE (Washington Evaluators) Met the Moment by Focusing on Equity and Access with Beeta Tahmassebi
11/9/2021, 3:30 PM – 4:15 PM EST

AEA affiliates play an important role in building evaluation community and practice at the local and regional levels. This panel is designed for AEA local affiliates or any member-driven organizations that are working to focus their efforts to meet the demands of the day. Leaders from the Washington Evaluators (WE) Board will share strategies for building values into a strategic vision, expanding programs, professional development, student scholarships, and mentorship programs in support of the current realities that call for new modalities of delivery and thinking to advance equity. We will share the successes and challenges we have faced this past year, as well as future opportunities for continued growth. The panel will invite questions from the audience and allow for an interactive discussion, designed to help us all meet the moment.

How WE (Washington Evaluators) Engages Emerging Evaluators to Support their Professional Development with Beeta Tahmassebi
11/10/2021, 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM EST

Supporting new and emerging evaluation professionals is crucial to strengthening and sustaining local evaluation communities. This panel is designed for AEA local affiliates or any member-driven organization interested in or currently providing professional development programming to support emerging evaluators. Members of the Washington Evaluators Community Engagement Committee Mentor Minutes program and the New Professional Scholarship program will describe the aims of these programs, core features, and member engagement strategies. Moderated by our WE President, the panel will also address successes, challenges, and lessons learned. The panel includes an emerging evaluator who will offer perspective as both a New Professional Scholarship awardee and a Mentor Minutes participant. The panel will invite questions from the audience to facilitate an interactive discussion.

Coffee Chat: Trends in Evaluation with Tessie Catsambas
11/10/2021, 4:30 PM -5:30 PM EST

Moderators in this coffee chat will focus on discussing emerging and existing trends in evaluation and how the Board is prioritizing them in their conversations. This session is not meant to be duplicative of the annual business meeting and should be an opportunity for open forum on what’s happening in the evaluation landscape.

Using Regional Case Studies for National Action Planning: USAID Transform’s GBV Landscape Analysis in Ethiopia with Shailee Ghelani and Elizabeth Stones
11/12/2021, 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM EST

In response to knowledge gaps about the scope and quality of gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response services, the USAID Transform: Primary Health Care activity conducted a landscape analysis to comprehensively understand the Ethiopian health system’s existing services. This analysis was the first of its kind in Ethiopia and informed key actions currently being implemented with the Federal Ministry of Health to improve the quality of GBV prevention and response services. Under the guiding case study methodology, the evaluation design combined qualitative and quantitative data collected from a targeted sample of facilities within primary health care networks to construct four in-depth, context-specific regional case studies and a final synthesis report of findings and recommendations. Appreciative and participatory approaches, utilization focus, and emphasis on ethical standards were integral to the study’s effectiveness in uncovering key gaps and opportunities for service delivery, ranging from sociocultural norms to multi-sectoral linkages.

In addition to following our EnCompass staff at the conference, we hope you will check out the sessions with our ELC faculty. Many will be presenting at the conference as well!