Resource Feeds

Reconciling EU interests and values: A new vision for global development

ODI general feed - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 00:00
​In a rapidly changing and interdependent world, Europe’s new leaders need to adopt a global perspective in European policy-making, a new understanding of the EU’s global role, and in particular, a new approach to international development. In this event hosted by Friends of Europe, we ask whether the European Think Tanks Group’s 2014 report ‘Our Collective Interest: Why Europe's problems need global solutions and global problems need European action’ offer the sort of answers needed.
Categories: Resource Feeds

Climate change & the post 2015 development framework: Developing country perspectives

ODI general feed - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 00:00

The event brings together experts and practitioners in climate change and sustainable development to present and discuss the views of developing countries. The event will share the outcomes of developing country and regional dialogues hosted by CDKN in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia and to present the latest research from our NGO colleagues.

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Rigged Cars and Barrel Bombs: Aleppo and the State of the Syrian War

Syria is sliding toward unending war between an autocratic, sectarian regime and the even more autocratic, more sectarian jihadi group that has made dramatic gains in both Syria and Iraq. Without either a ceasefire in Aleppo or greater support from its state backers, the mainstream opposition is likely to suffer a defeat that will dash chances of a political resolution for the foreseeable future.

Celeste Brubaker on Designing a Standardized Monitoring and Evaluation Framework Applicable across Multiple Programs

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 01:15

Hi! My name is Celeste Brubaker and I am a Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator at IREX. IREX is a US-based nonprofit organization working to improve lives through international education, professional training, and technical assistance. In our education programs division we have a portfolio of seven student programs (in which international young leaders complete intensive U.S. based learning experiences), each similar but also unique. To understand the outcomes of the programs as a whole we created one standardized monitoring and evaluation framework. From start to finish the process took about half a year. M&E staff led the design with feedback solicited from program managers at each stage of the process. At this point, the first round of data has been collected. Some of our results are visualized in the graph at the bottom of this post. Here are some hot tips and lessons learned we picked up along the way.

Hot Tip: Clearly define the purpose of standardization. At IREX, our aim was to create a framework for gathering data that would allow us to report on our portfolio of student programs as a whole and also to streamline the data collection and information management process. We wanted to achieve these goals while still accounting for the unique aspects of each program. Understanding these goals and parameters guided our decision to create a common framework with room for a small quantity of customized components.

Hot Tip: Start by identifying similarities and differences in expected results. To do this we literally cut apart each of our existing results frameworks. We then grouped similar results, stratified by type of result – output, outcome, objective or goal. The product of this activity was useful in helping us to visualize overlaps across our multiple evaluation systems and provided a base from which to draft an initial standardized results framework. Check out the activity in the picture to the right.

Lesson Learned: It’s an iterative process. There will be lots of rewrites and that’s a good thing! During the process we learned that soliciting feedback in multiple settings worked best. Meeting with the collective group of program managers was useful in that dynamic discussion often led to ideas and points that would not have necessarily come out of individualized input. At the same time, one-on-one meetings with managers provided a useful space for individualized reflection.

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. Internal Eval Week: Anthony Kim on Balancing Dual Roles as an Internal Evaluator
  2. MIE TIG Week: Andrea Guajardo on Culturally Responsive Evaluation in a Health Setting
  3. Katye Perry on Teaching Ethics in Evaluation through Case Examples

Politically-smart and locally-led justice programming: Learning from other sectors

ODI general feed - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 00:00
​Despite long-standing awareness of the importance of local politics and context, programming often falls back on conventional development modalities – which can be particularly astute in the justice sector. This roundtable brought together a range of organisations and individuals grappling with what context-relevant, politically-informed and adaptive programming looks like – and what implications this may have for the justice sector.
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The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: What's in it for Small Island Developing States

ODI general feed - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 00:00
In this guide, CDKN summarises the consequences of climate change for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report. CDKN aims to help decision-makers in developing countries design and deliver climate compatible development in a changing climate.
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Conflict Alert: Unrest in Sanaa

Yemen’s troubled transition is at a crossroads more dangerous than any since 2011. The Huthis, a Zaydi Shiite movement also known as Ansar Allah, are mobilising in the capital, organising demonstrations calling for the government’s demise and reinstating the fuel subsidies that were lifted in July. More worrying, their tribal supporters, many of whom have ties to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, ousted in the 2011 uprising, are setting up protest camps on the outskirts of the city, implicitly threatening a siege or military invasion. The situation is tense and the possibility of violence real. Overcoming the impasse requires returning to the basic principles agreed upon in the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) that concluded in January 2014: rejecting political exclusion and resolving differences through peaceful negotiation.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe: Protocol on Ceasefire in Ukraine

CFR.org - International Peace and Security - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 08:12

On September 5, 2014, the Trilateral negotiation group (representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Ukraine, and Russia) agreed to a twelve-point protocol, which included points on ceasefire, decentralization of power in Urkaine, and handling of hostages. In the Geneva Statement of April 2014, OSCE was put in charge of aiding Ukranian officials in reducing tensions in the region and ensuring that all countries met their obligations.

Adam Kessler on Why Evaluations Fail – The Importance of Good Monitoring

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 01:15

My name is Adam Kessler, and I work with the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED). The DCED has developed a monitoring framework called the “DCED Standard for Results Measurement”, which is currently used by over a hundred private sector development projects across five continents. This blog provides some lessons learned on why evaluators need good monitoring systems, and why implementing staff need good evaluators.

My experience working with private sector development programmes has shown me that they can become an evaluator’s worst nightmare. In private sector development, staff attempt to facilitate change in complex market systems, which change quickly and unpredictably for all sorts of reasons. As a consequence, staff often modify their activities and target areas mid-way through implementation, potentially rendering your expensive baseline study useless. Moreover, links between outputs and outcomes (let alone impact) are unpredictable in advance, and hard to untangle after the event.

Lesson learned: If you want to evaluate a complex programme, ensure that it has a good monitoring system. A good private sector development programme relies on continual, relentless experimentation, in order to understand what works in their context. If staff are not collecting and analysing relevant monitoring data, then they’ll just end up with a lot of small projects which seemed like a good idea at the time. Not easy to evaluate. You’re going to need to see the data they used to make their decisions, and make your own judgement about its quality.

Hot Tip: Good evaluation and good monitoring aren’t all that different, after all. Do you want a robust theory of change, critically interrogating assumptions, outlining activities and examining how they interact with the political and social context to produce change? Guess what – programme staff want that too, though they might use shorter words to describe it. Good quality data? Understanding attribution? Useful for both evaluators and practitioners. Although incentives vary (hence the jealously-guarded independence of many evaluators), in effective programmes there should be a shared commitment to learning and improving.

Incredible Conclusion: Monitoring and evaluation are often seen as different disciplines. They shouldn’t be. Evaluators can benefit from a good monitoring system, and implementation staff need evaluation expertise to develop and test their theories of change.

Rad Resources:

1)     I recently co-authored a paper called “Why Evaluations Fail: The Importance of Good Monitoring” which develops this theme further. It uses the example of the DCED Standard for Results Measurement, a results measurement framework in use by over a hundred projects that helps to measure, manage, and report results.

2)     For an evaluation methodology that explores the overlap between monitoring and evaluation, see Developmental Evaluation.

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. SEA Week: Dr. Fred Seamon on Evaluation Careers in the Private Sector
  2. Frank Meintjies on Embedding M&E Within Organisations
  3. GOVT Week: David Bernstein on Top 10 Indicators of Performance Measurement Quality

Politically smart, locally led development

ODI general feed - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 00:00
In light of growing demand from staff of donor agencies for examples of what 'thinking and working politically' entails in practice, this project aims to collect and share examples of where better outcomes have been achieved by adopting a politically smart, locally led approach.
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Pakistan’s democracy on the rocks

ODI general feed - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 00:00
"If Imran Khan’s quest for a more democratic and less corrupt political system is genuine, surely it makes more sense to prove himself effective in opposition, hold the government to account, help put the right transparency measures in place and only then let the nation decide on a change at the next general election in 2018."
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WFP Regional Response to the Syria Crisis: Evaluation Questionnaire

ODI general feed - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 00:00

This online questionnaire has been established as part of the Evaluation of WFP’s Regional Response to the Syrian Crisis. This independent evaluation is being undertaken by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in London and To Excel Consulting Associates in Amman.

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Lily Zandniapour and Nicole Vicinanza on The Social Innovation Fund Evaluation Plan Guidance Document: A Tool for Building Shared Understanding of Rigorous Impact Evaluation Designs

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 07:25

Greetings! We are Lily Zandniapour of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and Nicole Vicinanza of JBS International.   We work together with our colleagues at CNCS and JBS to review and monitor the evaluation plans developed and implemented by programs participating in the CNCS Social Innovation Fund (SIF).   The SIF is one of six tiered- evidence initiatives introduced by President Obama in 2010. The goals of the SIF are two-fold: 1) to invest in promising interventions that address social and community challenges and, 2) to use rigorous evaluation methods to build and extend the evidence base for funded interventions.

Within the SIF, CNCS funds intermediary grantmaking organizations that then re-grant the SIF funding to subgrantee organizations. These subgrantees implement and participate in evaluations of programs that address community challenges in the areas of economic opportunity, youth development, or health promotion.

Rad Resource: Go to http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/social-innovation-fund to see more about the work of the Social Innovation Fund.

SIF grantees and subgrantees are required to evaluate the impact of their programs, primarily using experimental and quasi-experimental designs to assess the relationship between each funded intervention and the impact it targets. To date, there are over 80 evaluations underway within the portfolio.

Lesson Learned: A key challenge we’ve encountered is making sure that CNCS, JBS, intermediaries, subgrantees and external evaluators all know what is required for a plan to demonstrate rigor in the SIF. To address this, CNCS and JBS worked together to develop the SIF Evaluation Plan (SEP) Guidance document based on a checklist of criteria that evaluators, participating organizations, and reviewers for intermediaries and CNCS could all use when developing and reviewing a plan.

Over the past three years, this Guidance document has been used to structure and review over 80 evaluation plans, and it has proved highly valuable in helping evaluators, programs, and funders to build a shared understanding of what this type of impact evaluation plan includes.

Rad Resource: Have a look at the SIF Evaluation Plan (SEP) Guidance ! It includes a detailed checklist for writing an impact evaluation plan, references and links to resources for each section of the plan, and sample formats for logic models, timelines, budgets, and a glossary of research terms.

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. Clara Hagens on Guidance on Monitoring and Evaluation
  2. Deepa Valvi on the Strategic Evaluation Planning Process
  3. Systems Week: Susan Wolfe on Adding an Ecological Perspective to Evaluation

Dan McDonnell on Staying Focused On The Web

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 12:19

Hi, my name is Dan McDonnell and I am a Community Manager at the American Evaluation Association. The worldwide web is a treasure trove of useful information and knowledge. Where productivity is concerned, this can often be a double-edged sword: where reading Twitter, blogs and Wikipedia can be immensely rewarding, it is quite easy to fall down the rabbit hole. If you’re a Google Chrome user, there’s a super-easy way to help limit the time you spend on your favorite website, to help you focus on the task at hand: the appropriately named Chrome extention, Stay Focusd.

 

Stay Focusd

Hot Tip: Choose Sites To Block

Once you’ve installed the extension, you’ll notice a small blue clock icon in the upper right corner of your toolbar. Click this, then select ‘Settings’ along the bottom of the pop-up window. and select ‘Blocked Sites’ from the sidebar. Here, type in the addresses of any websites on which you’d like to limit your browsing time: for example, www.facebook.com or en.wikipedia.org. Once you’ve put together your list, click ‘Add Blocked Site(s).’

Hot Tip: Set Access Times

Now that you have your blocked sites listed, it’s time to set limited acccess up. In the Stay Focusd sidebar, select’ Max Time Allowed,’ and choose the amount of time per day you’d like to have access to your ‘rabbit-hole’ websites – the default is 10 minutes, but you may want to be a little more generous than that and give yourself 30 or 60 minutes a day. Or if you want to be hard on yourself, 5 minutes.

You can also select individuals days and times of day during which you’d like the extension to be active. Maybe you give yourself some leeway on nights or weekends, but want to limit the amount of time you spend on Twitter during the work week.

Hot Tip: Be Devious

Is your web browsing willpower low? You can take a couple of quick steps to add an extra layer of protection to stop yourself from simply going into Stay Focusd and changing the settings to give yourself more browsing time or just uninstalling it altogether. For the first, go to the ‘Requires Challenge’ tab: once this option is enabled, you’ll be forced to manually type out challege text to be allowed to change any settings. The text is customizable, so you may find yourself shying away from changing settings if you know you’ll have to type out the entire first chapter of War and Peace first.

You can also block the Chrome extension site, to stop yourself from uninstalling Stay Focusd, or take ‘The Nuclear Option’ which will block a website for a period of time with no going back. Now that’s productivity.

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. Jara Dean-Coffey on Visual Facilitation and Graphic Recorders
  2. Eric Graig on Requall
  3. Shortcut Week: John Paul Manning on RescueTime for Time Tracking

p2i Week: Ann K. Emery and Johanna Morariu on Message, Design, and Delivery for Webinars

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 01:15

Greetings, we’re Ann K. Emery and Johanna Morariu, Innovation Network evaluators and p2i Advisory Board Members. We train foundations and nonprofits on everything from Evaluation 101 concepts to logic models to data visualization through both in-person trainings and online webinars.

Lesson Learned: Want to rock your next webinar? We’ve adapted p2i’s preparation, design, and delivery strategies for our webinars, plus created a few of our own strategies.

Message: Structure (and Time!) Your Webinar Content. First, outline your content. Don’t sit down to a blank PowerPoint file and just start typing; your webinar will be much better if you structure, chunk, and organize first.

Second, consider the p2i Messaging Model. I ask myself, “How much time does each particular story, example, or resource really deserve? 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes?”

Finally, create a Pacing Schedule by writing the main headers from your outline and their corresponding time allocations onto a large sheet of paper. During the live webinar, display the Pacing Schedule somewhere visible so you can glance up and make sure you’re on track.

Design: Structure Your Slides. As you sit down to design your slides, don’t forget about your original outline. Through Stephanie Evergreen’s Design Demo slidedeck for p2i, we learned about creating divider slides to alert the audience that new sections are beginning. We use this design strategy in live workshops as well as online webinars so that participants can better parse and digest the new information.

Can you spot our divider slides below? We use big font against dark backgrounds, which contrast from the main body slides.

Delivery: Structure Your Physical Space. Deliver your best webinar ever by carefully structuring your physical space.

As shown below, we use three laptops. Laptop #1 is for viewing your slides and speaking points (rather than clumsily flipping through hard copies of notes). Laptop #2 is the “live” webinar laptop, which is registered for the webinar in the Presenter role. Laptop #3 is registered for the webinar in the Participant role so you can spy on yourself and make sure your slides are progressing smoothly.

Learn more about structuring your physical space at http://annkemery.com/webinar-command-center/.

How have you adapted p2i strategies for your webinars? Do you have additional tips to share? Comment below or connect with us on twitter: @annkemery and @j_morariu.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating p2i Week with AEA members who have used our Potent Presentations Initiative. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members who have used p2i strategies in their presentations. 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. James Coyle on Use of the Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i) in Evaluation Contexts Outside of the AEA Conference
  2. Stephanie Evergreen on p2i at Eval12
  3. John Nash on Creating Outstanding Presentation Slides

Topic guide: leveraging the private sector to promote agriculture and natural resource based livelihoods

ODI general feed - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 00:00
This Topic Guide sets out the issues arising when stimulating private investment and initiatives to the benefit of small-scale and informal farmers, fishers and herders.
Categories: Resource Feeds

Topic guide: leveraging the private sector to promote agriculture and natural resource based livelihoods

ODI general feed - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 00:00
This Topic Guide sets out the issues arising when stimulating private investment and initiatives to the benefit of small-scale and informal farmers, fishers and herders.
Categories: Resource Feeds

Global value chains in Asia: Is everyone benefiting?

ODI general feed - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 00:00
​The seminar will discuss critical issues for inclusive growth in Asia and the rest of the developing world.

Categories: Resource Feeds

Global value chains in Asia: Is everyone benefitting?

ODI general feed - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 00:00
​The seminar will discuss critical issues for inclusive growth in Asia and the rest of the developing world.

Categories: Resource Feeds

p2i Week: Laura Beals on Applying p2i to Presentations at Work

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 01:15

Hello evaluation folks! I am Laura Beals, Director of Evaluation at Jewish Family and Children’s Service, a large multi-service nonprofit in Waltham, MA. Last year was my first AEA annual conference and I was fortunate to be able to present. As I was preparing my presentation, I was alerted to p2i resources; while at first I was (admittedly) not quite sure how to apply some of the tips, they have been instrumental in how I have improved my presentation style.

Hot Tips:

  • One of my favorite p2i tips is to state your key take-aways at the beginning of the presentation, as described in the “Messaging” tutorial on the p2i homepage. Lately, especially when I am presenting evaluation findings and I want an audience-driven discussion, I also state upfront what I am asking of people (e.g., “I will be asking you to provide me feedback on the methodology”).
  • My second favorite p2i tip is that handouts do not have to be printouts of your slides; in fact, handouts should be created separately to complement the presentation. Once I mentally separated the presentation from the handouts, I found myself having more freedom in my slides, since I knew they didn’t have to be understood out of the context of the presentation. For example, below is a side-by-side comparison of two slides and the handout from a literature review training I gave at my agency:

  • I will be honest—presentations that are primarily visual take time to prepare, so allot extra time, especially when you are first learning. It has taken time and practice for me to undo the default “bulleted PowerPoint style.” While now I can more easily envision a visual presentation from the outset, I often have to make my presentation the “old-school” way (bullets) to start, which then serves as an outline of what content I want to make sure to address on each slide. Then, I go through each slide and think about the key take-away and how I can present it visually instead.
  • If you are feeling stuck about how to design your slides, poster, or handout, be inspired by others! I recently listened to a NPR TED Radio Hour show on Originality—in it the guests reflected on how we borrow ideas from others. I find that when I am stuck with where to begin, I like to use others’ as inspiration (and I stress “inspiration”—be respectful of the copyrights of other artists—only use materials that are released for re-use and always attribute!). For example, I love COLOURlovers for color palettes and I have been inspired by Stephanie Evergreen’s “rule of thirds” template and the “Fab Five” reboots on the p2i website.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating p2i Week with AEA members who have used our Potent Presentations Initiative. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members who have used p2i strategies in their presentations. 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 Tips and Tools for Presentations From Ignite AEA
  2. James Coyle on Use of the Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i) in Evaluation Contexts Outside of the AEA Conference
  3. John Nash on Creating Outstanding Presentation Slides