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2018-02-08 20:51:24

Evaluation Community of India organises three-day EvalFest (7 – 9 February 2018) in New Delhi

The Evaluation Community of India (ECOI) a voluntary association of professional evaluators established in October 2015 organised a three-day EvalFest (7 – 9 February 2018) in New Delhi on development evaluation. The collaborating organizations include 3ie, OXFAM, CMS, IIHMR (New Delhi), IIST, Campbell Foundation, Impact Ready (UK), UNRC and UNFPA and Radiance Media.

The goal of the event was to contribute to building a culture of evaluation in the country through advocacy and capacity building by sharing knowledge about best practices, approaches and evaluation methods that are participatory, contextual, replicable and adaptable. Earlier on 3 February 2018 IIHMR (Delhi) organized in support of EvalFest a presentation on the theme of ‘Evidence to Action in Healthcare’ in in collaboration with ECOI.

Satellite sessions

7 February 2018

EvalFest began with two satellite events organized by CMS and OXFAM on 7 February 2018.

The first of these two conducted in the forenoon in the premises of CMS (Saket) is a discussion on ‘Ethical Standards in Social Research and Evaluation: Indian and International Perspective and Practices’ covering the core aspects of sensitizing and facilitating evaluators in improving and ensuring ethical norms in evaluation and on developing policy guidelines and institutionalizing ethical framework in evaluation. This was chaired by Dr. P.N.Vasanti, Director CMS. The discussion stressed the importance of observing ethical norms that respect human dignity and privacy and ensure honest gathering of evidence and reporting findings.

The event in the afternoon was organized by OXFAM (India) and focused on usage and limitations of Big Data in research and evaluation against the traditional methods of data gathering.

Evalfest Main Event

8 February 2018

The main event of EvalFest was inaugurated on 8 February 2018 by Prof. V.P.Sharma, Chairman of Committee on Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. In the event ECOI brought together various stakeholders on one platform including officials from government of India and State governments, NGOs, academicians, media, community and students concerned with development.

International organizations and representatives of regional and national evaluation associations like CoE (South Asia) and Afghan Evaluation Association, ESK etc were part of the event. In his inaugural address, Prof. Sharma highlighted the importance of evaluation in promoting evidence-based decision-making in the formulation of public development policies and programmes. He also released a compendium of articles ‘Evaluations: visibility, voice and value’ brought out by ECOI in collaboration with OXFAM. This was followed by special remarks on ‘voice’ in evaluation by Dr. Emmanuel Jimenez, Executive Director, 3ie, and key note addresses by Marco Segone, Director, Evaluation Office, UNFPA, on ‘visibility’, and Joseph Barnes of ImpactReady (UK) on leadership and evaluation. Participants also witnessed in this session a presentation on the progress of ECOI since its inception. The presentation highlighted the activities undertaken by ECOI, its efforts to spread its reach to various States in the country, its forging networking arrangements with regional and national professional evaluation associations elsewhere, and the organization’s future agenda with the moto ‘share and learn’.

The second session of the morning was devoted to a group activity on the importance of engaging various stakeholders to achieve high quality in evaluation. The discussions brought out how involvement of primary stakeholders contributes to high quality in evaluation design, implementation and in formulating findings and recommendations.

A Round Table organized as a parallel session in the forenoon focused on the new frontiers of evaluation in the context of Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN. The discussions pointed to the importance of continuous monitoring and periodic evaluations in measuring progress towards SDGs and ensuring optimum utilization of investments directed towards these goals. The complex cross-cutting nature of the goals, the resultant complexities coming into play in the evaluation of progress towards these goals and the new approaches and methods to carry out realistic evaluations were discussed.

The first of the four sessions in the afternoon of 8 Feb featured presentations about innovations taking place in commissioning, designing, implementing and using evaluations. In a parallel session, an interactive Round Table, issues relating to capacity building in evaluation were addressed. An action plan was discussed for capacity development for conducting quality evaluations.

Later in the afternoon, an interesting event took place in the form of an ‘Innovative Evaluation Bazaar’ in which opportunity was given to individuals/organization to present their innovative ideas in the field of evaluation in different ‘stalls’, and the participants visit the ‘stall’ of their interest to hear the presentations. The idea of presentations were themselves innovative, such as story narration, posters, and slide shows. In a parallel session Journalists interacted with the participants on the contribution mass media could make to evidence-based policy planning. The role of media in providing a platform for public debate on policies and programmes, in presenting credible evidence about the impacts of policies, and as a conduit between policy makers and the public was discussed.

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