The CoE (Community of Evaluators) South Asia in collaboration with CoE Nepal announces its Second Conclave from Feb. 26- March 1st in Kathmandu, Nepal.
CoE’s First Conclave (http://www.evaluationconclave.org/ ) was successfully held in October 2010 in New Delhi with over 300 South Asian and international participants.
The CoE is a group of evaluators from South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan), working together to strengthen the field of evaluation. The COE was constituted in October 2008 as part of a Project titled "Advancing Evaluation Theory and Practices in South Asia – “Building a Community of Experts” primarily supported by IDRC, Canada. The Goal of the CoE is – “to promote and enhance the quality of the theory and practice of evaluation in South Asia and to contribute to the same, particularly from a South Asian perspective, globally.
The Theme of the Second Conclave “Evaluation for Development” emphasizes that evaluation should ultimately make a difference in the lives of people.
Evaluation is particularly critical in the context of South Asia, home to complex social structures, high rates of poverty, gender discrimination, dynamic forces of globalization sweeping traditional societies and numerous development projects for the large populations of this region. Innovative evaluation approaches and practices are particularly important in such complex contexts.
Though we will include broader experiences where comparative learning and lessons are offered, our focus will be on application of innovative evaluation approaches and practice? to the situations in South Asia.
There are many reasons for which evaluations are commissioned – for accountability, for learning, to understand what works and what doesn’t, for utilization and influence. These are not mutually exclusive and indicate the varied potential uses and value of evaluation. The theme ‘Evaluation for Development’ is intended to draw out and share innovations in evaluation methods, approaches, capacity building and use, with a special focus on the participation of civil society, local institutions and persons who are affected by the various projects, programmes, and policies being evaluated.
The Conclave will provide a platform for South Asian evaluators as well as others to share and learn from each other and contribute to evaluation field building in the region.
The Conclave will address issues of Participation, Practices, Policies and Utilization.
The crosscutting theme of Participation in evaluation will emphasize who evaluation is for, who benefits, who participates and why. Equally important is understanding who is excluded, why and how it influences evidence gathering and evaluation findings. Participatory and social accountability approaches have a vibrant history in South Asia, and have high relevance given the extent of social and economic divisions and disparities. What are the rights and responsibilities of various stakeholders – beneficiaries, donors, govt., commissioners of evaluation, civil society and evaluators – in development evaluation? How can evaluations address human rights - tribal rights, socially marginalized people rights, gender rights, child rights, transgender rights? What ethical frameworks are essential while addressing a rights based approach to evaluation?
The crosscutting theme of Practices in evaluation will question the many ways evaluation is carried out. How is evaluation practiced and used, especially in this region? What are innovative approaches, methods and tools that have been implemented that support good practice? What is the history and current status of communities of practice for evaluation, and lessons for their success? What role can evaluation networks and evaluation field building play in strengthening practice? How do such networks help develop an evaluation culture and demystify evaluation? How can evaluations support or promote social accountability? What are the capacity building approaches and lessons for South Asia?
The cross cutting theme of Policy will explore evaluation policy and the use of evaluation/evidence for policy. What is the policy environment for the use or non-use of evaluation? How are evaluations used for informing decision making, institutional learning and programming innovations? How can evaluators and evaluation networks work for or with the government to improve evaluation use? How can demand be generated for more evidence based use of evaluation for programs and policies? Evaluation oversight, meta-evaluations and an environment culture shape decision making and policy change as do the socio-political contexts in which policies are shaped – what lessons can be learned that could be applied to South Asia? Do national policies on evaluation contribute to the discourse on evaluation use and/or practice and how do they matter?
The cross cutting theme of Utilization addresses concerns, approaches and experiences regarding the utilization of evaluation. Much is known about what it takes to get evaluations used so what is the responsibility for evaluators to live up to those practices (and quality standard), especially in the South Asian context? Are South Asian evaluators following that knowledge base? Why? Why not? What are the ethical dimensions of the non-use or misuse of evaluation in a region of such need (i.e., money wasted on evaluation)? What are the roadblocks and possible areas of influence? What capacities, resources and approaches are needed by evaluators to ensure use and what is the impact on change and development? What types, methods and tools support the utilization of evaluations? What has been the impact of utilization focused evaluations in the region?
Poverty alleviation: Home to the largest numbers of the worlds’ poor,this sub-theme will examine which approaches, methods and tools have been used for exploring and addressing issues of poverty. What are some of the innovative ways and methodologies to measure poverty and use those findings to influence decision making? What is being measured and what is not? How has evaluation contributed to understanding how poverty could be alleviated?
Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition: These sectors have been the subject of regular evaluations and assessments, but policy and institutional reforms have been slow to take place. This sub-theme will ask, what are innovative approaches that have been used to examine what is working and what is not working in these domains?
Gender and inequities: Persistent inequities, caste and class cleavages and gender discrimination challenge development efforts in the region. This sub-theme will examine which methods and tools have been used to examine and include gender issues and other sites of exclusion in evaluation? What is the role of feminist evaluations and what influence have they had or have the promise of in such contexts?
Environment: Evaluation of climate change (both adaptation and mitigation), agriculture and environment (environmental justice and governance) are important areas for evaluation in the region that cross-cut with poverty, food security and gender issues. Evaluation of emergencies, disasters and natural calamities warrant special attention – what have we learned about timely, relevant and efficient evaluations that help to improve programs and provide future directions? This sub-theme will examine, which evaluation practices have worked and which have not in factoring in and examining environmental dimensions of development initiatives? What evaluative capacities are needed for such evaluations and how could or should they be built?
Governance and Social Accountability: In large scale public sector programs being implemented to alleviate poverty, food insecurity, and health access, governance concerns are often a central focus of evaluation. At both outcome and impact level, these issues are critical. This sub-theme will reflect on evaluation approaches, methods and tools to assess society’s role in improving government accountability. How evaluation has informed public sector reform and what are the conditions under which evidence is widely used? How can evaluation inform what works and what does not in different governance mechanisms, such as decentralization? How can participation as an approach inform evaluations in governance and social accountability?
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