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What is participatory evaluation?

___Participatory evaluation is an evaluation that involves all the stakeholders in a project - those directly affected by it or by carrying it out - in every phase of evaluating it, and in applying the results of that evaluation to the improvement of the work.

Why would (and why wouldn't) you use participatory evaluation?

___It gives you a better perspective on both the initial needs of the project's beneficiaries, and on its ultimate effects.

___It can get you information you wouldn't get otherwise.

___It tells you what worked and what didn't from the perspective of those most directly involved - beneficiaries and staff.

___It can tell you why something does or doesn't work.

___It results in a more effective project.

___It empowers stakeholders.

___It can provide a voice for those who are often not heard.

___It teaches skills that can be used in employment and other areas of life.

___It bolsters self-confidence and self-esteem in those who may have little of either.

___It demonstrates to people ways in which they can take more control of their lives.

___It encourages stakeholder ownership of the project.

___It can spark creativity in everyone involved.

___It encourages working collaboratively.

___It fits into a larger participatory effort.

___It takes more time than conventional process.

___It takes the establishment of trust among all participants in the process.

___You have to make sure that everyone's involved, not just "leaders" of various groups.

___You have to train people to understand evaluation and how the participatory process works, as well as teaching them basic research skills.

___You have to get buy-in and commitment from participants.

___People's lives - illness, child care and relationship problems, getting the crops in, etc. - may cause delays or get in the way oftheevaluation

___You may have to be creative about how you get, record, and report information.

___Funders and policy makers may not understand or believe in participatory evaluation.

When would you use participatory evaluation?

___When you're already committed to a participatory process for your project.

___When you have the time, or when results are more important than time.

___When you can convince funders that it's a good idea.

___When there may be issues in the community or population that outside evaluators (or program providers, for that matter) aren't likely to be aware of.

___When you need information that it will be difficult for anyone outside the community or population to get.

___When part of the goal of the project is to empower participants and help them develop transferable skills.

___When you want to bring the community or population together.

Who should be involved in participatory evaluation?

All stakeholders, including:

___Participants or beneficiaries.

___Project line staff and/or volunteers.


___Outside evaluators, if they're involved. 

___Community officials.

___Others whose lives are affected by the project.