From Mike Hendricks, AEA Representative to the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE), with contributions from Jim Rugh, EvalPartners Co-Coordinator
Next month sees the completion of a unique, first-time collaboration between AEA, EvalPartners, and evaluation associations in three Central Asian countries: Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. Also unique is that the lead entity for AEA is not our central organization but our local affiliate in Washington, DC: Washington Evaluators (WE).
This collaboration has two phases. In phase one, funded for $10,000 by EvalPartners through its Peer-to-Peer (P2P) support program, Dr. Donna Mertens, former president of AEA, visited Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in December 2014 to deliver two workshops. The first was a three-day workshop to help evaluators from four countries (Russia also) develop their personal capacities in transformative mixed methods addressing gender- and equity-focused evaluations, an area in which Dr. Mertens is an expert. Almost 40 persons from civil society, government, and the private sector attended this workshop, which was developed only after conducting a needs assessment of participants.
Dr. Mertens also offered a second, one-day workshop in Bishkek to help build networks among the evaluation associations in those four countries and beyond. For each workshop, her remarks were simultaneously translated into Russian for the benefit of participants. After each workshop, participants lighted the “evaluation torch” being used during EvalYear 2015 and carried the torch back to their own countries. You can find the final report and photos of these workshops here (click on the "WE Final Narrative" Report document).
Phase two of this collaboration between WE and colleagues in those CIS countries is being funded for $5,000 by AEA through its International Partnership Protocol Program (IPPP). In fact, this is the very first effort being funded through this new AEA program. Four evaluation leaders from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will visit Washington, DC, in March 2015 to make presentations to WE members on the state of evaluation in Central Asia. While in Washington, these leaders will also meet with WE officials and representatives of other evaluation-related institutions in the Washington, DC, area to share their experiences, seek advice, and discuss possible future cooperation.
This collaborative project is important for several reasons:
- This is the first time AEA has been involved in an EvalPartners-supported partnership effort. In the past two years, 34 other evaluation associations around the world have participated in P2P, so AEA’s entry into these efforts is welcomed by everyone involved.
- An AEA local affiliate took the lead role in this collaboration, showing the deep well of substantive and organizational expertise that exists in our local affiliates. Perhaps this example will motivate other AEA local affiliates to nurture collaborative partnerships of their own.
- This collaboration shows the ability of AEA’s IPPP program to form partnerships with evaluation associations in other countries to strengthen our mutual capacities. In this instance, AEA’s IPPP funds are allowing the collaboration to be truly collaborative – that is, information and experience are flowing in both directions, not just one. This is truly the spirit of global collaboration.
- Central Asia as a region has experienced considerable political unrest, but the governments of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are committed to a transparent, data-driven tracking of their progress toward national goals. This project has demonstrated to that part of the world a working partnership among evaluators, government policy makers, donor agencies, and the business communities.
If this collaboration interests you, please read the "AEA Launches International Webpage" article in this newsletter, which discusses AEA’s call for proposals for the next round of the IPPP program. Note especially that the deadline for applying is March 31.
In other international news, India became the first country to celebrate EvalYear 2015, hosting a week-long series of events from January 19-23 titled “Evaluations for Good Governance.” Mr. Rao Inderjit Singh, the Honorable Minister of State for Planning, presided over the week, which had been organized by several national and international organizations, including UN Women, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), Oxfam, UNICEF, CARE, ISST, and CMS. Photos of the India events can be seen here.