News in South Africa
Evaluating our work
Is our work only about numbers? Or are we actually interested in the difference we are making in the people's lives with whom we work? For the past week Dumisani and Wessel attended an evaluation training offered by Pact SA that challenged us to think more deeply about the outcomes we are actually achieving.
We were presented with different types of evaluation, different evaluation questions, and a general introduction to sampling and basic data analysis.
There were three kinds of evaluation that really appealed to us:
- Establishing regular process evaluation of our programmes, where we can discover if our tools and interventions are actually making sense to the people they target, and making a difference.
- The most significant change technique: this is a summative approach where we can ask long ranging and deep questions to as many people touched by our organisation as possible. The core question to ask is: What is the most significant change that we have made in your life? The hundreds of stories will then be sifted to choose the best.
- Compiling a comprehensive baseline of our OVC work to be able to track our future progress with this important programme.
These ideas were sparked by the lively workshop, where Pact SA partners shared their experiences in evaluation, and Pact provided a technical overview of evaluation. The Outcome Mapping workshop we had conducted with our technical team at the end of 2009 will also fit hand and glove into the evaluation work.
We are now going to see how and where we can begin the evaluation process.
The evaluation training was hosted by Pact at the Centurion lake hotel and it was a great opportunity to meet other Pact SA partners and share stories and ideas.
Guest speakers provided expert input. Andre Proctor from Keystone and Bongiwe Mncwango from the HSRC had great presentations about feedback and data analysis.
At the end of the workshop the words were mentioned:
"I am tired, but inspired!"
We both felt the training provided a very valuable step towards our mission of enabling sustainable community development.
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