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Susan Kistler on Innovative Reporting Part I: The Data Diva’s Chocolate Box

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 01:34

Hello wonderful aea365ers. My name is Susan Kistler and I am, or will be when we launch on June 1, a contributing editor at TheSmarterOne.com, where we aim to “Increase Your ROI on Life and Have Fun While Doing It.” I’m also the Executive Director Emeritus of the American Evaluation Association, and originator of aea365. But enough about me, let’s talk about chocolate!

Back in February, Stephanie Evergreen wrote on her blog about “findings cookies” – homemade fortune cookies with a tiny tidbit from an evaluation report inside.  I loved the idea, but ran into two potential problems with personal execution: 1. I burn most of what I cook, and 2. I needed something that was more portable. Our beloved aea365 curator, Sheila Robinson, came to the rescue when she suggested “findings chocolates” in the comments to Stephanie’s post. These were perfect for making ahead for an upcoming dataviz workshop I was giving where colleagues from the St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) would be in attendance. The data from their 2011-2012 Vision Cards served as the basis for these examples.

Hot Tip: Wrap Hershey’s Nuggets in hand-made overlays and you’ll have three sides available for information. When we made the ones at the top of this post, we put a graph illustrating the measure on top, the interpretation and goal on one side, and a link to the full report on the other.

Cool Trick: 3/4″ color coding dots fit perfectly on the bottom of Hershey’s Kisses. Buy the dots that can be printed on and add a key finding. Then, peel and stick!

Rad Resource – Chocolate Stickers and Wrappers Templates: We’re launching TheSmarterOne.com on June 1, but I posted a step-by-step tutorial on how to make these over there already, including templates for both the kisses and the nugget wraps. While you’re there, feel free to poke around (with the caveat that we’re still working things out) and sign up for our weekly newsletter. If you’d like to learn more about what we’re doing, or consider writing for us, see this post.

This is the first in what will be an ongoing series on alternative reporting, exploring ways to get your report off the shelf and into people’s hands and heads.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Related posts:

  1. Susan Kistler on Evaluating Website Traffic
  2. Elissa Schloesser on 5 Steps for Translating Evaluation Findings into Infographics
  3. Kristi Pettibone on Evaluating Environmental Change Strategies

Mapping climate-relevant incentives and investment at country level: a diagnostic tool to mobilise private climate finance

ODI general feed - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 00:00
​This paper describes a new methodology to support governments and development partners that wish to mobilise private finance for climate-compatible development (CCD).
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Large Systems Change: Producing the Change We Want

Networking Action - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 12:18

Waddell, Steve, Hsueh, Joe, Birney, Anna, Khorsani, Amir, & Feng, Wen. (2014). Turning point – large systems change: Producing the change we want. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 2014(53), 5-8. doi: 10.9774/GLEAF.4700.2014.ma.00003

Transformation and large systems change is not something that …

Susan Wolfe on When You Can’t Do An Evaluability Assessment

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 01:15

My name is Susan Wolfe and I am the owner of Susan Wolfe and Associates, LLC, a consulting firm that applies Community Psychology principles to strengthening organizations and communities. Prior to initiating my consulting practice, I was employed as an internal evaluator in more than one organization.

Have you ever had a job where they sent you to evaluate a multi-site program or initiative, and find that there was no clearly defined single intervention, no specific goals or objectives, and the performance measures lacked established norms or benchmarks?  This has happened to me on more than one occasion. In each case I managed to produce a useful report. How did I do it?

Lesson Learned:  Sometimes you are unable to convince the powers that be that you need to first address evaluability.  If this happens, describe the evaluation challenges and how they will limit what you will be able to do in writing and negotiate a longer timeline for the project. Such projects can become quite complex and you will need extra time.

Hot Tip:  Consider using a comparative case study approach that utilizes quantitative, qualitative and participatory methods. After completing a case study of each site, you can then summarize common activities and outcomes.  You can also determine which sites showed better outcomes and which did not, and identify successful strategies and barriers to success.

Rad Resource: Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Fifth Edition (2014) by Robert K. Yin.

Hot Tip:  Identify the common core elements for the program or initiative across sites.  Make sure one of your recommendations includes the development of Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound (SMART) objectives and development of a framework or model of change.

Rad Resource:  The Community Toolbox (one of my favorite resources) provides instruction and tools for Developing a Framework or Model of Change.

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Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Related posts:

  1. CP TIG Bonus: Susan Wolfe on Using Performance Data to Empower Staff and Build Capacity
  2. Susan Kistler on the Community Toolbox
  3. CEA Week: Tania Rempert, Leanne Kallemeyn, David Ensminger, and Megan Polanin on Developing Evaluation Capacity Through Coaching

Supporting resilience in difficult places

ODI general feed - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 00:00
Supporting resilience in difficult places and its companion paper Remaking the case for linking relief, rehabilitation and development were commissioned by GIZ for BMZ. What the client said: 'two excellent papers…. a large number of interesting ideas ….will inform our work tremendously'.
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Supporting resilience in difficult places

ODI general feed - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 00:00
Supporting resilience in difficult places and its companion paper Remaking the case for linking relief, rehabilitation and development were commissioned by GIZ for BMZ. What the client said: “two excellent papers…. a large number of interesting ideas ….will inform our work tremendously”
Categories: Resource Feeds

Supporting resilience in difficult places

ODI general feed - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 00:00
Supporting resilience in difficult places and its companion paper Remaking the case for linking relief, rehabilitation and development were commissioned by GIZ for BMZ. What the client said: “two excellent papers…. a large number of interesting ideas ….will inform our work tremendously”
Categories: Resource Feeds

Remaking the case for linking relief, rehabilitation and development

ODI general feed - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 00:00
Remaking the case for linking relief, rehabilitation and development and its companion paper Supporting resilience in difficult places were commissioned by GIZ for BMZ. What the client said: 'two excellent papers…. a large number of interesting ideas ….will inform our work tremendously'.
Categories: Resource Feeds

Afghanistan after 2014: what's next?

ODI general feed - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 00:00
​2014 is a year of major transition for Afghanistan. In a report to be released on 2 April, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) argues that while 2014 is a challenging year for Afghanistan, it is also an opportunity for the international community to stand beside the Afghan people, building on successful, community-based approaches to humanitarian assistance and development.

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CrisisWatch N°128

As the Central African Republic becomes increasingly fractured along communal and regional lines, the re-emergence of the rebel Front populaire pour le redressement (FPR) in the north further worsened insecurity. Muslims continue to be targeted daily. African Union peacekeepers fell victim to two attacks by anti-balaka militias, with at least one killed. Chadian peacekeepers were accused of firing on civilians in a predominantly Christian neighbourhood of Bangui, reportedly killing at least 24. The promised support from the international community has not yet materialised, though in late March the European Union announced the imminent deployment of troops.

The Security Challenges of Pastoralism in Central Africa

Sensible, inclusive regulation of pastoralism that has mitigated tension in parts of the Sahel should be extended to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), where conflicts have worsened with the southward expansion of pastoralism.

Kylie Hutchinson on Searching for Inspiration

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 01:15

My name is Kylie Hutchinson.  I am an independent evaluation consultant and trainer with Community Solutions Planning & Evaluation.  In addition to my usual evaluation projects, I deliver regular webinars on evaluation topics, Twitter weekly at @EvaluationMaven, and co-host the monthly evaluation podcast, Adventures in Evaluation along with my colleague @JamesWCoyle.

Sometime when I feel a I need an energizer or refresher in my evaluation practice I like to go back to my favorite evaluation books and flip through pages that I’ve specially tabbed and highlighted for inspiration.

Rad Resource:  One of my obvious go-to resources is the body of work by Lahjik Maadel, and in particular his book, On Doing, And Done.  I always find Lahjik’s insights into how programs work to be highly practical, timely, and relevant.  Thirty years on, I still find his views on evaluation highly prescient for his time.

Rad Resource:  Perhaps a less widely known, but still inspiring, resource for evaluators is the book, Quality Assessment, by E. Val Speuff.  While Val is originally known for her groundbreaking work on evaluation methodology, she has also written extensively on the role of evaluators as social change agents.

Hot Tip:  Books can inspire, but don’t always believe everything you read.  Sometimes you need to go to the source!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Related posts:

  1. Dawn Hanson Smart on Reading Outside Your Field
  2. Dreolin Fleischer on the Encyclopedia of Evaluation
  3. Cameron Norman on Complexity Science for Evaluators

Close to home: substantial strategies for climate compatible development

ODI general feed - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 00:00
This working paper draws on rich insights from the work of partner organisations that CDKN has supported to promote climate compatible development at the subnational level across Africa, Asia and Latin America. This paper is intended to provide an introduction to the topic, and summarise lessons from the learning programme.
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Is global governance of finance fit for purpose?

ODI general feed - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 00:00

The launch of the Global Financial Governance and Impact Report, the first comprehensive independent report to hold world leaders to account, asking five years after world leaders committed themselves to reform global financial governance, has the goal of reformation been achieved?  

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Humberto Reynoso-Vallejo on Innovative Approaches for Latino Caregivers of Dementia Elders

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 14:50

I am Humberto Reynoso-Vallejo, a private consultant on health services research. A few years ago, I was part of an exploratory study of Latino caregivers in the Boston area caring for a family member suffering Alzheimer’s disease. Difficulties facing those families coping with the disease have promoted the rise of support groups for diverse population group. Support groups for racial/ethnic diverse caregivers were scarce, and in the case of Latino caregivers in the Boston area nonexistent. To respond to this need, I tried to develop a support group for Latinos with the assistance of the Alzheimer’s Association. After several unsuccessful attempts, I conducted a focus group with four caregivers to identify barriers to participation. Findings indicated that caregivers faced a number of issues including: lack of transportation; lack of available time to take off from other responsibilities; the absence of linguistically appropriate support groups; caring for other family members dealing with an array of health problems (multiple caregiving); and, other personal and social stressors.

I designed an alternative and pragmatic model support group, which took the form of a radio program. The “radio support group” directly targeted caregiver’s concerns and aimed to:

a) Disseminate culturally relevant information, largely from the point of view of the caregivers themselves, either as guest in the program or when calling into; and,

b) Reduce the sense of isolation that many caregivers feel on a daily basis as a result of their caregiving roles.

I facilitated the radio support group with the participation of caregivers, professionals and service providers. Four programs were aired exploring topics such as memory problems, identifying signs of dementia, caregiver needs, and access to services. After each radio program was aired, I called the 14 participant caregivers to explore their reactions, and found that the majority of them were not able to participate. Since the “live” radio support group was not accomplishing its original purpose of disseminating information and reducing caregivers sense of isolation, I decided to distribute the edited audiotapes of the 4 programs to all caregivers. Overall, caregivers found the information useful and many established contact with others. 

Lessons Learned:

  • This model of intervention, the radio support group, showed that innovation simultaneously with cultural relevant material is promising.
  • Research and evaluation should adapt to the particular needs and social context of Latino caregivers of family members with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • There is a need for more culturally appropriate types of interventions that mobilize caregivers’ own strengths, values, and resources.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

 

 

Related posts:

  1. Humberto Reynoso-Vallejo on Cultural Competence and Cultural Humility in Evaluation
  2. CEA Affiliate Week: Grisel M. Robles-Schrader on Increasing Research Literacy, Evaluation, and Engagement led by and with Latino Communities
  3. Cultural Competence Week: Lisa Aponte-Soto and Leah Christina Neubauer on Increasing the AEA Latino/a Visibility and Scholarship

Es el tiempo para el ELN

El tiempo se está agotando para el Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN). La probabilidad, cada vez mayor, de que las negociaciones en La Habana pondrán fin al conflicto con las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) cambia por completo el escenario estratégico para el ELN.

How to scale out community-based adaptation to climate change

ODI general feed - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 00:00
This Working Paper explains the initial thinking from the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) on how to increase the scale and impact of community-based adaptation (CBA). It draws upon CDKN’s experience and learning, and that of our partners, from a diverse range of contexts and projects. It contributes some initial reflections on where and how opportunities exist for scaling up CBA pilot projects.
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A turn for the worst: how transport is causing a global health crisis

ODI general feed - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 00:00

​New research presents the global health loss from motorised road transport, revealing the extent of the impact which has so far not been adequately understood.

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Humberto Reynoso-Vallejo on Evaluating Immigrant Workers Centers

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 01:15

I am Humberto Reynoso-Vallejo, a private consultant on health services research.  In a recent study, my colleague Lee Staples (Boston University) and I explored Immigrant Workers Centers (IWCs), community-based organizations that have been developed in the United States to promote and protect workers’ rights through support, services, advocacy, and organizing initiatives.  We examined how IWCs in the Eastern part of Massachusetts are structured along twelve dimensions of organizational development and community organizing.

Qualitative research methods were used to identify shared themes as well as their organizational responses to the current anti-immigrant environment.  Shared themes included:

a) Prioritizing community organizing for workers’ rights and collective empowerment;

b) Sub-modalities such as education, training and leadership development are a common feature;

c) Individual support is provided within a context that emphasizes the need for collective action to overcome injustice;

d) Health/safety, sexual harassment, discrimination, and various problems associated with wages (underpayment, missed payments, collecting back wages, and lack of overtime pay);

e) IWCs respond to anti-immigrant policies and practices by supporting larger efforts for immigration reformat the municipal, state, and federal levels.

f) Coalitions of IWCs and their allies attempt to make statewide and federal policy changes by using a variety of organizing tactics, including legislative lobbying, media events, rallies, marches, vigils, and a variety of direct actions.

Hot Tip: Consider using community organizing principles that enables collective action, particularly given the increasing number of immigrant workers experiencing growing hostility and deteriorating working conditions.  Principles include: building powerful locally-based organizations; systematically recruiting organizational members from the affected community; training leaders from that constituency; identifying specific, “winnable” issues of immediate concern; fixing responsibility on the appropriate institutional decision-makers; and engaging in social action campaigns to pressure decision-makers to meet collective goals by acting in specified manner or by modifying or stopping certain activities.

Hot Tip: These organizations also incorporate principles from the influential Brazilian social theorist and political activist, Paolo Freire, including: an emphasis on the personal development of individual participants; exercising the skills of dialogue to problematize personal/local issues, often through codification that brings salient issues to life through photographs, stories, drama or music; the facilitation of conscientization about the sources of oppression, through “liberation education” and critical pedagogy; participatory praxis, and collective action for transformative change to achieve social justice and collective well-being.

Rad Resources:

Rules for radicals: A practical primer for realistic radicals by Saul Alinsky (1971).

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Friere (1970).

Centros de Trabajadores Inmigrantes en el Este deMassachusetts by Humberto Reynoso-Vallejo and Lee Staples (2013).

Roots to power: A Manual for Grassroots Organizing (Second Edition) by Lee Staples (2004).

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Related posts:

  1. Humberto Reynoso-Vallejo on Evaluating Immigrant Workers Centers
  2. SW TIG Week: Katrina Brewsaugh on Why You Want a Social Worker on Your Evaluation Team
  3. SW TIG Week: Kathy Bolland on Ethics in Evaluation and in Social Professions

Social enterprise: constraints and opportunities - evidence from Vietnam and Kenya

ODI general feed - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 00:00
This paper synthesises findings from a study of social enterprises operating in the agriculture and health sectors in Kenya and Vietnam.
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