From Mike Hendricks, AEA Representative to the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE), with contributions from Jim Rugh, EvalPartners Co-Coordinator
EvalPartners, the global movement to strengthen evaluation (an important movement in which AEA plays a vital role), has recently published the first-ever global evaluation agenda. It’s titled Global Evaluation Agenda 2016-2020, often shortened to EvalAgenda2020, and in our humble opinion, this Agenda is required reading for anyone interested in evaluation, whether international or domestic. You can read either the full report or just the seven-page executive summary, but we urge you to read at least one. AEA is also tracking various other international activities on ourInternational Connections webpage.
Two beliefs motivated the development of EvalAgenda2020: First, evaluation has enormous potential to improve society, but second, evaluation has yet to reach its full potential. In order to achieve more, four key areas need to be strengthened: (1) the enabling environment for evaluation (including especially more demand for evaluation); (2) institutional capacities to conduct and utilize evaluations; (3) individual capacities to conduct evaluations; and (4) the interlinkages among these first three factors. EvalAgenda2020 includes a separate chapter describing and discussing each of these areas, and each chapter includes a conceptual framework, theory of change and specific ideas for how to move forward.
This is the what of EvalAgenda2020, but it’s also important to know how this Agenda was created. Specifically, it wasnot created by a small group of “evaluation experts” working in secrecy. Quite the contrary, the contents were developed over a 15-month period of world-wide discussions, beginning in September 2014 with several weeks of online consultations among many participants from around the world. After that start, many of the 90+ evaluation conferences and meetings held during the International Year of Evaluation 2015 discussed different aspects of the emerging Agenda and provided their own suggestions. AEA, for example, contributed four pages of ideas that are appended in Section B of the full Agenda. The near-final draft was presented and discussed in Kathmandu, Nepal, this past November as part of EvalPartners’ Global Evaluation Forum.
Once you read the Agenda, there are three ways you can help bring it to life. First, you can support the eventual outcomes of AEA’s International Working Group (IWG), which is right now identifying ways AEA can help strengthen each of the key areas. The IWG will soon recommend actions to the AEA Board of Directors, and after the board decides, President-elect Kathy Newcomer and Executive Director Denise Roosendaal will report AEA’s action plans during a special session at our annual conference in Atlanta this October. There will be many opportunities for you to volunteer with that important work, once it is clarified.
Second, if you are involved in a Topical Interest Group (TIG) or Local Affiliate, you can help your TIG or Local Affiliate to support EvalAgenda2020 by seeing where their interests overlap with the Agenda. A quick review of the list of TIGs and Local Affiliates tells us there are lots of possibilities here.
Third, each of us as individual evaluators can also support the Agenda. Strengthening our own enabling environment(s), strengthening the capabilities of institutions we work in and/or with, and strengthening our own capabilities and those of our colleagues – each of these supports EvalAgenda2020 and is a great contribution.
These are exciting times for evaluation around the world, and EvalAgenda2020 is energizing the global community of evaluators. Be a part of the action! We are creating a pool of volunteers to pull from for specific projects/tasks related to the international agenda. To submit your name, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a TIG or Affiliate leader, you can enter details about how your TIG/Affiliate might already be working toward these goals. To enter your activity, please go to http://www.eval.org/p/is/ty/type=8.