Evaluating social policy in Europe, reviewing the Results Agenda and renewing Participatory Evaluation – What are we reading in February?

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This blog marks the first in a new monthly series on the best blogs from the world of evaluation.  Each month, we will gather together the best short articles from organisations and practitioners, provide you with a summary of each one and links for more information. 

Rigorous testing of social policies in Europe: What are we learning?

In this blog, Cilian Nolan, Associate Director of Policy for J-PAL Europe and Ana Maria Tabacaru, Senior policy Associate at J-PAL Europe, present a wide range of findings from 80 ongoing or complete randomised experiments.  These studies bring new evidence-backed insights into the impact and response to COVID-19 in Europe across 20 European countries.  At a time of rife misinformation and speculation, this cache of resources represents an indispensable addition to European evaluation during the pandemic.

The Results Agenda Needs a Steer—What Could Be its New Course?

With the pandemic undoing budgetary arrangements and forcing rethinks of assessment frameworks, this blog from the world bank questions the Results Agenda that informs much of the Bank and its partners’ work in developing countries.  The critique rests on the identification of an emerging gulf between the reporting requirements and the feedback needed to continuously improve programs. The blog, authored by the Independent Evaluation Group’s Alison Evans, Estelle Raimondo and Stephen Hutton, goes on to suggest the adoption of a Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (MEL) approach to address these issues and improve delivery going forward.

Handbook on Participatory Evaluation

Participatory evaluation has a long history of entrenched challenges that require new and innovative methods to overcome and reap the benefits of greater inclusivity. Supported by the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval), the National University of San Juan (Argentina) and the Costa Rican Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy (Mideplan), Evalparticipativa has published a new handbook for participatory evaluation featuring an explanation of why widening participation matters, along with techniques and case studies.  Aimed at assisting evaluators in Latin America, the handbook is currently only available in Spanish – an English version is coming later in 2021 – so the blog provides a useful preview of its content for non-Spanish speakers.

The Evaluator as Facilitator: Considerations for Good Facilitation Practice

The role of evaluator sometimes requires skills far beyond the discipline of evaluation. This blog tries to capture some of the overlap between the practical work of an evaluation consultant and the increasingly important part of facilitator.  In the context of remote learning, re-skilling and new emphasis on dialogue, demand for facilitation has markedly increased and Ijeoma Ezeofor of TCC Group argues that it can greatly assist the work of evaluation.

A systematic approach to building the evidence base for gender equality and women’s empowerment in fragile contexts

Building on 3ie’s work on evidence gaps in evaluation, this blog highlights the enduring challenge of incorporating gender analysis into evaluators’ work and proposes a more systematic approach to meeting this need.  The blog outlines the crucial role of women as enablers of peace building and therefore the returns to women’s empowerment in fragile contexts.  Providing an overview of the evaluation work currently being conducted on the topic, the blog argues for a renewed focus on documenting the role women play in the harshest social conditions.