Resource Feeds

The elephant in the room: Will more money get more kids learning?

ODI general feed - Thu, 06/26/2014 - 00:00
In this blog, Susan Nicolai argues that there's an elephant in the room at the Global Partnership for Education meeting in Brussels this week: Will more money actually get 57 million children who are out of school back into the classroom? And will pledges mean a better quality education for the 250 million children who are still not learning to a minimum standard?
Categories: Resource Feeds

People-focused security and justice provision: connecting the local to the national

ODI general feed - Thu, 06/26/2014 - 00:00
​Programmes that go beyond technical approaches to security and justice development are rare. Furthermore, the idea that only the state can or should exercise authority over security and justice obscures contexts in which authority is fragmented. Community policing can therefore potentially fill an important gap. In this event, Saferworld will discuss the importance of community security for development. 
Categories: Resource Feeds

People-focused security and justice provision: connecting the local to the national

ODI general feed - Thu, 06/26/2014 - 00:00
​Programmes that go beyond technical approaches to security and justice development are rare. Furthermore, the idea that only the state can or should exercise authority over security and justice obscures contexts in which authority is fragmented. Community policing can therefore potentially fill an important gap. In this event, Saferworld will discuss the importance of community security for development. 
Categories: Resource Feeds

DVR TIG Week: Tony Fujs on Dataviz with the Grammar of Graphics: R you Ready?

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 01:15

Hello! I’m Tony Fujs, Director of Evaluation at the Latin American Youth Center, a DC based non-profit organization. Today, I want to share my experience using R and ggplot2 for data visualization. Ggplot2 is a great tool from the R toolbox (a package, in R lingo). It relies on the powerful Grammar of Graphics framework, which helps “shorten the distance from mind to paper” (Hadley Wickam).

I started using R three years ago, and it has now become my main tool for data analysis and visualization.R is known to have a steep learning curve though, so before getting started, it’s probably a good idea to do a little bit of “cost-benefits” analysis, and check if R is a good fit for you.

Lessons Learned: Benefits

  • More flexibility: R currently meets 99.9% of my dataviz needs. From simple Bar charts, to Maps, to Social Networks… you name it! I can do it directly from R.  No need to learn multiple tools anymore.

  • Increased productivity:  I often need to generate the same charts on multiple data sets, or multiple subsets of the same dataset. With R it takes almost no effort to do this.

  • Transparency: Who never did open an Excel file with numbers that seemed to come directly from a magic hat? Coding forces you to become more transparent, and makes your analyses and dataviz easier to replicate. Your colleagues and your future self will thank you for this!

Lessons Learned: Costs

By the way, did I mention that R is free? Your costs-benefits analysis is looking pretty good! You still have some time investment ahead though… In my experience, there are two main barriers when starting dataviz with R and ggplot2:

-       Understanding the Grammar of Graphics: There is a strong logic behind the grammar of Graphics framework. Taking some time to understand it will make your learning experience much smoother.

-       Learning to code: If you don’t have any prior programming experience, moving from a point and click environment to writing code may entail some frustration.

Rad Resources: Here is a list of resources to help minimize learning costs:

1)    Get familiar with the grammar of graphics:

  • Read this paper by ggplot2 creator Hadley Wickam.
  • Check out this slide deck from my dataviz workshop using R and ggplot2. Pay special attention to exercise on slide #25

2)    Get familiar with the R environment:

3)    Start playing with ggplot2

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Data Visualization and Reporting (DVR) Week with our colleagues in the DVR Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from DVR TIG members. 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. DVR TIG Week: Johanna Morariu on the DVR Logic Model & Introducing the DVR Week
  2. DVR Week: Stephanie Evergreen on the Data Visualization and Reporting TIG
  3. Manny Straehle on the ICA Data Visualization Competition

Politics and governance in Afghanistan: the case of Nangarhar province

ODI general feed - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 00:00
​Warlords as governors? This paper looks at how power and politics in eastern Afghanistan plays out beneath the narratives created by the international community, and draws attention to the shortcomings of the development and governance interventions so far.
Categories: Resource Feeds

How to save the Afghan election

ODI general feed - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 00:00
Ashley Jackson reflects on this weekend’s voting activities in Afghanistan and calls on the international community to ensure that the results are legitimate and don’t drive Afghanistan deeper into conflict.
Categories: Resource Feeds

Private sector action in adaptation

ODI general feed - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 00:00
The private sector is very heterogeneous, ranging from gigantic multinationals to mini-hydro operators or small farmers in developing countries. All reports mapping climate finance flows assign almost all private sector flows to mitigation but these figures do not capture autonomous adaptation.
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Sovereign Wealth Funds—The Keys to Success

PFM blog - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 06:40
Posted by Andrew Bauer1 A sovereign wealth fund (SWF) should serve a purpose; this seems obvious. Yet time and time again, as discussed in my previous blog, funds are established with no clear purpose or do not achieve their stated...
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DVR TIG Week: Rakesh Mohan, Lance McCleve, Tony Grange, Bryon Welch, and Margaret Campbell on Sankey Diagrams: A Cool Tool for Explaining the Complex Flow of Resources in Large Organizations

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 01:15

We are Rakesh Mohan, Lance McCleve, Tony Grange, Bryon Welch, and Margaret Campbell of the Office of Performance Evaluations, an independent agency of the Idaho State Legislature.

Last year, the Legislature asked us to explain how funds move through the Department of Health and Welfare—the agency with the state’s largest budget. Legislators, including budget committee members, had difficulty understanding the department’s financial information. Given agency complexities and its sheer number of financial transactions (over two million in 2013), no one in recent history had brought together the separate parts of its financial records to explain how the parts function.

Communicating the flow of dollars was the trickiest piece of the study. We considered narratives, tables, and traditional flowcharts. Ultimately, we used Sankey diagrams that helped stakeholders visualize funds moving through the department making them the most useful features of our report.

One diagram shows how dollars flow through a program over a year.

The second diagram illustrates funds flowing into, out of, and within a program.

Sankey diagrams depict resources within a system by mapping their flow from an initial set of values to a final set of values. They were especially useful because the lines have widths proportional to their value throughout the system. Legislators could easily see the proportion of each fund throughout the flow. Initially we tried to create the diagrams in Visio, but manually sizing each line was extremely laborious.

Department officials were surprised how clearly our report presented complex aspects of their fund management. They are now using our report for in-house training. They also had us train them on creating Sankey diagrams for future reporting. The feedback from three key stakeholders further illustrates the usefulness of Sankey:

 

“This…really, really was a fine body of work.”

Representative Maxine Bell, Cochair, Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee

 

“The study does much to further enhance the transparency and understandability of the largest budget in state government.”

State Controller Brandon Woolf

 

“[The report] will provide valuable assistance for future planning.”

Governor Butch Otter

Hot Tips:

  1. We used 11×17 paper so the diagram would be big enough to show detail and keep the same orientation as the text.
  2. Subtle colors within similar families were more effective than contrasting colors. We also made colors transparent to clarify intersecting lines.
  3. We wanted to edit text during publishing, so we imported the diagram as an image and added text within the publishing software.

Rad Resources:

  1. We purchased e!sankey, which comes in two versions. The pro version allowed us to link to data in Excel.
  2. Google Charts Sankey
  3. Sankey Diagram History

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Data Visualization and Reporting (DVR) Week with our colleagues in the DVR Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from DVR TIG members. 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. Sheila B. Robinson on Delightful Diagrams from Design Diva Duarte
  2. Rakesh Mohan and Lance McCleve on Why Evaluators Should Respond to the Interests of Sponsors and Stakeholders
  3. Dan Jorgensen on Effective Data Management

Debt sustainability in HIPCs in a new age of choice

ODI general feed - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 00:00
A literature review and assessment of the achievements of multilateral and heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) debt relief initiatives as well as the impact of 'new' debt-creating development finance flows on debt sustainability.
Categories: Resource Feeds

DVR TIG Week: Ann K. Emery on Dataviz2: Visualization and Reporting about the DVR TIG

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 08:08

Welcome! I’m Ann Emery, Co-Chair of the Data Visualization and Reporting Topical Interest Group (“DVR TIG”). It seems only fitting to tell you more about the DVR TIG through, well, data visualization and reporting! Some highlights:

  • AEA has 48 topical interest groups. They specialize in everything from quantitative methods to advocacy evaluation to data visualization.
  • The Nonprofits and Foundations TIG is the largest, with 1,290 members in 2014. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues TIG is the smallest, with 115 members. The DVR TIG falls in the middle, with 821 members this year.
  • 3 out of 4 DVR TIG members are women.
  • Most of the DVR TIG members–92%–have a master’s degree or higher.
  • 28 different countries are represented in the DVR TIG. Roughly 9 out of 10 members are from the United States.
  • The DVR TIG members work in a variety of settings: in nonprofits (33%), private businesses (26%), colleges and universities (26%), federal, state, and local agencies (12%), and school systems (4%).

What about demographic patterns over time? And how does the DVR TIG compare to other TIGs, or to AEA as a whole? This analysis is just the beginning. If you dig deeper into the data, let me know! I look forward to seeing what you find. Have you displayed evaluation findings through a dataviz video like this? How’d it go? I storyboard portions of my workshops and webinars to grab the audience’s attention (especially at the beginning and end of a presentation) and to offer step-by-step explanations of complex charts and diagrams. Do you have questions about how I designed this video? Want to make your own? Share your questions and comments below, or connect with me through @annkemery or annkemery.com. The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Data Visualization and Reporting (DVR) Week with our colleagues in the DVR Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from DVR TIG members. 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 Learning From DVR Innovation
  2. DVR Week: Stephanie Evergreen on the Data Visualization and Reporting TIG
  3. Susan Kistler on Suggesting Data Visualizations to Win a Copy of Evaluation Strategies for Communicating and Reporting

Education Reform in Pakistan

To combat religious extremism and sectarian violence, Pakistan must reform its education sector by boosting resources to public schools and updating the school curriculum to improve quality and remove divisive and discriminatory narratives.

athenahealth Q&A with Mark Kramer

FSG - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 01:00
Why nonprofit management is as important as the mission and services they offer.
Categories: Resource Feeds

Male gender-based violence: a silent crisis

ODI general feed - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 00:00

'Men and boys have also been sexually abused in conflicts. We don’t know the full scale of this crisis globally and how many have experienced sexual violence precisely because this has been such a hidden issue.'

Categories: Resource Feeds

Comment

ODI general feed - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 00:00
Categories: Resource Feeds

Male gender-based violence: a silent crisis

ODI general feed - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 00:00

'Men and boys have also been sexually abused in conflicts. We don’t know the full scale of this crisis globally and how many have experienced sexual violence precisely because this has been such a hidden issue.'

Categories: Resource Feeds

DVR TIG Week: Johanna Morariu on the DVR Logic Model & Introducing the DVR Week

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Sun, 06/22/2014 - 01:15

Hey there! I’m Johanna Morariu, a Director of Innovation Network and the Co-Chair of the DVRTIG. DVR is the Data Visualization and Reporting TIG, and we work within the AEA community and through our evaluation work to improve the quality of communications through better data visualization and improved approaches to reporting evaluation findings.

You could say the first DVRTIG meeting was in 2010, when Stephanie Evergreen convened a small, rowdy group of us to discuss interest in founding the a new TIG to advance issues related to data and information design and reporting within the evaluation community. Since then, we’ve been a fast growing TIG with more than 800 members. (Thanks Stephanie!)

Since those earliest days, TIG members and leaders have worked hard to develop a knowledge and resource base for members and the broader AEA community. One of those newest resources that we’d like to share is a DVRTIG logic model. Yes, our very own logic model!

Rad Resource: The DVRTIG Logic Model was developed by DVRTIG leadership coming out of the Evaluation 2013 DVRTIG business meeting. The logic model reflects the ideas and ambitions suggested by TIG members at the business meeting. There are more activities than we can hope to achieve, but this is our record of ideas and possibilities for the TIG for the next two years. Check it out and leave a comment in the AEA resource library.

Rad Resource: Another great resource if you’re interested in learning more about the DVRTIG is our website. Anne Worthington is our TIG webmaster and maintains an excellent resources hub of dataviz resources, DVRTIG videos and content, and much more!

Hot Tip: Did you know there is a forum for chatting directly with AEA members interested in data visualization and reporting? Through the DVRTIG website, you can access the DVRTIG eGroup to start a conversation, get feedback on your visualization or report, or share new resources!

We’ve got a great week of posts lined up for you! First, Ann Emery (my colleague at Innovation Network and DVRTIG Co-Chair) will wow you with some stats and visualizations about the DVRTIG. Up next will be Rakesh Mohan and his colleagues from Idaho State’s Office of Performance Evaluations to explain Sankey diagrams. Then we’ll hear from Tony Fujs of the Latin American Youth Center about using R and ggplot2 for data visualization. From there we’ll turn it over to Gretchen Biesecker, Vice President of Evaluation at City Year, to explore storytelling as an effective communication method. And we’ll wrap up the DVR week with Ann Emery and Stephanie Evergreen with a test drive of their Data Visualization Checklist.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Data Visualization and Reporting (DVR) Week with our colleagues in the DVR Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from DVR TIG members. 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. DVR Week: Amy Germuth and Johanna Morariu on Kicking off the DVR TIG Week
  2. DVR Week: Stephanie Evergreen on the Data Visualization and Reporting TIG
  3. DOVP Week: Aimee Sickels on the Two Minute Logic Model

Best of aea365: Sheila B Robinson on Being an AEA365 Sponsored Weeks Archaeologist!

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Sat, 06/21/2014 - 01:15

Hello! Sheila B. Robinson here, aea365′s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor. I originally composed this post in May of 2013, but feel it deserves another go as I’m feverishly queuing up some fabulous sponsored weeks for summer. Keep up with aea365 through weekly Headlines and Resources, the new and improved AEA website, and AEA newsletters.

I work in PK12 education at Greece Central School District, and in higher education at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education. As aea365’s current Lead Curator, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of groups – American Evaluation Association Topical Interest Groups (AEA TIGs), AEA Affiliates, and other groups that are united by evaluation practice in various contexts.

Hot Tip: Leave no stone unturned! In other words, don’t skip entire weeks. You can learn a lot even when a sponsored week’s group name doesn’t resonate with you. During sponsored weeks, you can read about how evaluators in different contexts from your own have grappled with evaluation challenges, learned something from working in diverse communities, or tried new technologies to enhance their evaluation practice and are now willing to share their experiences with all of us.

Hot Tip: Dig for enticing artifacts! Look for posts with content that transcends the focus of the sponsored week. For example, while I am not an environmental program evaluator, nor do I evaluate extension education programs, I found these two gems during sponsored weeks:

  • In this post, Sara El Choufi shared resources for learning Excel during the Environmental Program Evaluation (EPE TIG) sponsored week.
  • In this post, Melissa Cater shared information on creating a Community of Practice during Extension Education Evaluation (EEE TIG) week.

Lesson Learned: While our sponsored week authors may share evaluation foci with each other, they offer Hot Tips, Cool Tricks, Lessons Learned, and Rad Resources that appeal to and can be educative for a broad range of evaluators.

 

Cool Trick: Get your hands dirty! Sift through the archive and unearth your own gems in sponsored (and non-sponsored!) weeks.

Lesson Learned: Many sponsored weeks have themes that cut across evaluation contexts. In addition to TIG-sponsored weeks,we’ve hosted Cultural Competence Week, Innovative #Eval Week, Video in #Eval Week, AEA affiliate weeks, Bloggers Series Weeks, and Local Area Working Group Weeks, among others.

Rad Resource: History in the making: Check out aea365 and our archive for a list of over 1000 nuggets of evaluation wisdom from hundreds of authors. With about 70 sponsored weeks on aea365, there’s a lot to learn! So, get into comfortable clothes, get your virtual trowel, sieve, and brush and get your read on!

 

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. Sheila B. Robinson on Being an AEA365 Sponsored Weeks Archaeologist!
  2. Cultural Competence Week: Dominica McBride on Cultural Competence and aea365
  3. Jeremy Jewell on Using Wait List Control Groups in Evaluation

Iraq’s Jihadi Jack-in-the-Box

Within days, the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) conquered parts of north-western Iraq and revealed the fragility of a country ruined by sectarianism, hollowed-out institutions and high-level, pervasive corruption. Accumulated grievances of Sunnis in the area meant that ISIL pushed against a house of cards. But its possibilities are limited and a kneejerk international military intervention risks stoking the conflict instead of containing it. The International Crisis Group’s latest briefing, Iraq’s Jihadi Jack-in-the-Box , outlines necessary actions by Iraq, Iran, the U.S. and the wider international community to end the harmful course of events and reverse its underlying drivers.

CLEAR Week: Claudia Maldonado and Alicia López on Creating “Enabling Environments” for Monitoring & Evaluation

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Fri, 06/20/2014 - 01:15

We are Claudia Maldonado and Alicia López from the CLEAR Center for Spanish-speaking Latin America, proud members of the CLEAR Initiative.

Would you recognize an “enabling environment” if you “saw” it?  The enabling environment concept is very popular among professionals in evaluation. But what does it mean?   How you create and cultivate this kind of environment requires some out-of -the-box kind of thinking.

Last November the CLEAR Centers of Latin America and Anglophone Africa organized a South-South roundtable in Pretoria, South Africa that tried to do something different.  We brought together members of government, parliament and technical experts from eight developing countries (Benin, Colombia, Ghana, India, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, and Uganda).  We had them role-play, discuss and reflect informally about the role of evidence in development. The idea was to provide a neutral space for people in high-level decision positions, with the ability to push legislation, and technical experts to share experiences and knowledge in a very open forma.  And what did we get out of it?  A fascinating working-group, specific country-level commitments and a lot of fun.

Lessons Learned: Plan, plan, plan, ahead! The selection of participants and a well-thought agenda are essential.

Hot Tip: We held bimonthly meetings with a steering group of senior specialists from Mexico, South Africa and Ghana and the facilitation team to plan the round-table’s content and goals. In-depth, participatory work for the construction of the agenda and the selection of adequate strategic participants (combining enough experience, decisiveness and expertise) was crucial for success.

Lessons Learned: A traditional lecture format was just not going to cut it! We needed participants to get to know each other and be willing to openly share the frustrations and challenges they face. A flexible format and a facilitation process that enabled collaboration and engagement across institutional roles and national boundaries helped.

Hot Tip: Carefully select well prepared and experienced facilitators. Group dynamics help to create an atmosphere of trust.  At first these activities may seem silly or a waste of time. They are not!

Lessons learned: Ok, meeting our colleagues is rewarding, but we came here for results!  Aim for written commitments.

Hot Tip:   Set aside enough time to establish agreements. The last three sessions of the event were dedicated to drafting country and regional action plans taking into consideration learning and insights from the interactions.

Country action plans included: Designing of a legal/administrative framework to promote compliance and learning through evaluation; effectively supply relevant information; ensure that recommendations outputs are evidence-based, timely, clear, and politically and economically feasible; and create a parliamentarian forum on M&E.

Rad Resource: South-South Round Table on the Demand and Use of Evidence in Policy Making and Implementation.

(Share Clip)

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members of CLEAR. 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. CLEAR Week: Tim Clynick on Beyond Rhetoric: Africa’s National Evaluation Movement
  2. CLEAR Week: Diva Dhar and Urmy Shukla on Designing Courses for M&E Capacity Building: Lessons from South Asia
  3. FIE/MME Week: Donna Podems on Applying Feminist Evaluation for Non-feminist Evaluators