AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

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Hello! My name is Amelia Ruerup, I am Tlingit, originally from Hoonah, Alaska although I currently reside in Fairbanks, Alaska.  I have been working part-time in evaluation for over a year at Evaluation Research Associates and have spent approximately five years developing my understanding of Indigenous Evaluation through the mentorship and guidance of Sandy Kerr, Maori from New Zealand.  I consider myself a developing evaluator and continue to develop my understanding of what Indigenous Evaluation means in an Alaska Native context.

I have come to appreciate that Alaska Natives are historic and contemporary social innovators who have always evaluated to determine the best ways of not only living, but thriving in some of the most dynamic and at times, harshest conditions in the world.  We have honed skills and skillfully crafted strict protocols while cultivating rich, guiding values.  The quality of our programs, projects, businesses and organizations is shaped by our traditions, wisdom, knowledge and values.  It is with this lens that Indigenous Evaluation makes sense for an Alaska Native context as a way to establish the value, worth and merit of our work where Alaska Native values and knowledge both frame and guide the evaluation process.

Amidst the great diversity within Alaska Native cultures we share certain collective traditions and values.  As Alaska Native peoples, we share a historical richness in the use of oral narratives.  Integral information, necessary for thriving societies and passing on cultural intelligence, have long been passed on to the next generation through the use of storytelling. It is also one commonality that connects us to the heart of Indigenous Evaluation.  In the Indigenous Evaluation Framework book, the authors explain that, “Telling the program’s story is the primary function of Indigenous evaluation…Evaluation, as story telling, becomes a way of understanding the content of our program as well as the methodology to learn from our story.” To tell a story is an honor.  In modern Alaska Native gatherings, we still practice the tradition of certain people being allowed to speak or tell stories.  This begs the question: Who do you want to tell your story and do they understand the values that are the foundation and framework for your program?  

Hot Tip: Context before methods.  It is essential to understand the Alaska Native values and traditions that are the core of Alaska Native serving programs, institutions and organizations.  Indigenous Evaluation is an excellent approach to telling our stories.

Rad Resource: The Alaskool website hosts a wealth of information on Alaska Native cultures and values.  This link will take you to a map of “Indigenous Peoples and Languages of Alaska”

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Alaska Evaluation Network Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AKEN members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Hi, I’m Nora F. Murphy, a developmental evaluator deeply committed to social justice. I recently attended the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI) Spring Training and Donna Mertens’ workshop on Weaving Social Justice and Evaluation Together. Stimulated by the concepts and conversations I have been reflecting on how social justice appears in my practice and had the following insights:

Lessons Learned:

#1: I actively choose evaluations of projects related to systems change to increase social justice and equity and assumed this was enough. Mertens challenged us to go a step further by placing human rights and social justice at the center. While these elements are always present in my evaluations they are not always at the center.

#2: Where people are working towards social justice and equity there is trauma—individual and community, past and present. Evaluators can ignore this and, I suspect, often do. I realized that my most meaningful evaluations did not ignore this but rather recognized and honored this aspect of people’s experiences.

#3: AEA’s Guiding Principles For Evaluators (2004) states that evaluators bear responsibility for general and public welfare. When designing an evaluation I can choose to ignore the trauma or design an evaluation that creates the space to recognize the trauma and promote healing as a way to benefit both individuals and society as a whole.

I will ask myself these questions and commit to the following as I explore the intersection of evaluation, social justice, trauma, and healing:

  • What gets placed at the center? Mertens suggests we place human rights and social justice at the center. I will be more intentional about doing so.
  • How do I attend to what’s in the center? I will consider methods that promote healing through deep listening, bearing witness, and creating opportunities for people to connect to their inner selves and to each other.
  • For what purpose and to what ends do we evaluate? Bob Williams suggested recently in an EvalTalk post (4.4.15) titled “Evaluation’s Warrant” that one possible purpose is to serve humanity. I will deepen my thinking about this idea.
  • Who is evaluating? Educator Parker Palmer (2009) asks himself: “How does the quality of my selfhood form— or deform— the way I relate to my students, my subject, my colleagues, my world?” In a similar vein I will ask this question of myself as an evaluator and do the inner work needed to bring my best self to my work.

Rad Resources:

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

My name is Donna M. Mertens and I am an independent consultant based in Washington DC; my work is both domestic and international. I had the honor of being the keynote speaker at the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI) in March 2015. The MESI theme was Social Justice amidst Standards and Accountability: The Challenge for Evaluation. The concept of social justice in the context of evaluation implies that evaluators can play a role in addressing those wicked problems that persist in society, such as violence, lack of access to quality education for all, poverty, substance abuse, and environmental pollution.

Lesson Learned: Wicked problems and Social Justice. Evaluators are concerned and involved in contributing to the solution of wicked problems. They also recognize the importance of bringing a social justice lens to this work. Michael Harnar conducted a survey of 1,187 evaluators and reported that 69% (n=819) either strongly or somewhat agreed with this statement: Evaluation should focus on bringing about social justice.

Rad Resource: Mertens, D.M. editorial: Mixed Methods and Wicked Problems, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 2015, 9, 3-6. Abstract http://mmr.sagepub.com/content/9/1/3.extract

Harnar, M. (2014). Developing criteria to identify transformative participatory evaluators. JMDE. http://journals.sfu.ca/jmde/index.php/jmde_1/article/view/383

Lesson Learned: Social Justice Lens Leads to Different Evaluation Questions. Evaluators who work with a social justice lens are concerned with the question of program effectiveness and answering the impact question, Did “it” work? They are also interested in asking other types of questions:

  • Was “it” the right thing?
  • Was “it” chosen and/or developed and implemented in culturally responsive ways?
  • Were contextual issues of culture, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, deafness, religion, language, immigrant or refugee status, age or other dimensions of diversity used as a basis for discrimination and oppression addressed?
  • How were issues of power addressed?
  • Do we want to continue to spend money on things that don’t work?

Rad Resource: Native American Center for Excellence published Steps for Conducting Research and Evaluation in Native Communities that provides a specific context in which a social justice lens is applied in evaluation.

Lessons Learned: Social Justice Criteria for Evaluators. Evaluators who work with a social justice lens consider the following criteria to be indicators of the quality of the evaluation:

  • Emphasizes human rights and social justice
  • Analyses asymmetric power relations
  • Advocates culturally competent relations between the evaluator and community members
  • Employs culturally appropriate mixed methods tied to social action
  • Applies critical theory, queer theory, disability and deafness rights theories, feminist theory, critical race theory, and/or postcolonial and indigenous theories

Rad Resource: Reyes J., Kelcey J., Diaz Varela A. (2014). Transformative resilience guide: Gender, violence and educationWashington, DC: World Bank.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating MESI Spring Training Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from evaluators who presented at or attended the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute Spring Training. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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I am Leah Christina Neubauer with DePaul University’s MPH Program. I serve as President of the Chicagoland Evaluation Association (CEA). This post highlights my paper in the LA RED network’s AEA 2014 session (#1439): Visionary Evaluation for Building Sustainable Cultural Responsive Evaluation Practices for Latino/a Communities.

From my paper, Lessons from Little Village, Public Health & LatCrit, I offer three guiding questions:

  1. When conducting evaluation with and within Latino communities, does the setting matter?
  2. Should the evaluator be Latino?
  3. Should the design and methods be Latino-focused?

In response to my queries, I offer LatCrit as a framework for advancing Latino-focused evaluation dialogue and scholarship. I offer key insights and resources below.

Hot Tip: Definition, Aims & Values

What is LatCrit?   LatCrit is a theory which considers issues of concern to Latinas/os such as immigration, language rights, bi-lingual schools, internal colonialism, sanctuary for Latin American refugees, multi-identity, and census categories for “Hispanics”.

Aims: Aligned with critical legal theory roots, initial aims included:

  1. The production of critical and interdisciplinary knowledge
  2. The promotion of substantive social transformation
  3. The expansion and interconnection of anti-subordination struggles, and
  4. The cultivation of community and coalition among outsider scholars.

Values: These aims are couched with a commitment to:

  1. Expansive practical programming
  2. Vast community-building structures
  3. Continual engagement of one’s self-critique, and
  4. Analysis to ensure multidimensionality.

Lessons Learned: Possibilities for Evaluators and Evaluation

  1. Multiple Evaluation Approaches: For evaluators, LatCrit highlights theories and models which evoke use, participation, responsiveness, culture, indigenous peoples, social justice, and transformation.
  1. Resources: In my health work, ample time and money are essential for quality LatCrit-aligned evaluation. Evaluators (or RFP writers!) should allow time for formative or developmental processes. Many of our Latino communities have untold processes, stories, and phenomena that must be told and appropriately captured.
  1. Multidimensionality: To be clear, multidimensionality is valued, understood, and shapes all evaluation processes. In practice, this includes resources to develop a nuanced understanding of key multidimensional issues such as: history, context, community, stakeholders, language, dialect, power structures, etc.
  1. Latino-Focused Evaluator Roles: Are context-sensitive, interpreters, translators, mediators, and storytellers. They are grounded in an international, contextual perspective in evaluation. They are familiar with the community’s geographic and historical background. They bear cultural and linguistic competency. They practice multidisciplinary methodology and embody responsive and power-aware evaluation practice.

Rad Resources:

Clayson, Castañeda, Sanchez, and Brindis’ Unequal power—changing landscapes: Negotiations between evaluation stakeholders in Latino communities.

Mertens, and Wilson’s Program evaluation theory and practice: A comprehensive guide.

Valdes’ Foreword: Under construction. LatCrit consciousness, community, and theory.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse Network Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Network members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

We are Dr. Maria Jimenez, Independent Evaluation Consultant in Los Angeles, CA, and Andrea Guajardo, MPH, Director of Community Health at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System in San Antonio, TX. As supporting members of the newly formed LA RED network, this post focused on the consideration of critical race theory as a practical application in Latino/a Responsive Evaluation.

Latino/a Responsive Evaluation often requires a participatory research approach, and in doing so, provides opportunity to conduct evaluations within the context of a critical framework. Cultural intuition is a valuable tool to mitigate race, ethnicity, and culture in community-based programs focused on Latino/a populations.

Hot Tip #1: Acknowledge issues of race/racism within the evaluation context.

Latinos are a heterogeneous group representing various genetic populations including indigenous African American, European, and American. Evaluators need to understand the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between these racial populations. Critical race theory as a methodological approach can be used to address issues of race in Latino/a Responsive Evaluation. Critical race theory places race at the forefront of research, use an interdisciplinary, participatory approach, and promotes a social justice agenda.

Hot Tip #2: Be aware of immigration and migration trends within the population of focus in the evaluation.

According to the 2012 Statistical Portrait of Hispanics in the United States from the Pew Research Center, 52.9 million people in the United States self-identified as either Hispanic or Hispanic and one other race. Of these, nearly 19 million are foreign-born with Mexico as the most common country of origin (64.2%).   Fifty-two percent of the Hispanic children in the United States are considered 2nd generation. Pew data also shows significant differences in language, news and information acquisition preferences, and political and cultural opinions based on the length of time a person has lived in the, whether a person is undocumented or is a first, second, or third generation American citizen.

Hot Tip #3: Diversify your evaluation team.

Build a transdisciplinary team with diverse sociological, historical, or practical perspectives. For example, team members with strong backgrounds in Urban Chicano studies will provide a different lens than that of a team member with experience rural Tejano culture. Acknowledge the intra-racial complexities of the Latino/a population and ensure that multiple viewpoints exist on your evaluation team. Additionally, ensure that members of your team various ethnic/racial backgrounds and/or have a solid understanding of the culture of the program, participants, or communities being studied.

Rad Resources:

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse Network Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Network members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

My name is Roxann Lamar and I work in research and evaluation at the Center for Human Development, University of Alaska Anchorage. Our local AEA chapter, the Alaska Evaluation Network (AKEN) hosted a discussion on cultural competence, particularly relevant toNative cultures. About 19% of Alaskans have all or partial Native heritage.

The AEA’s statement on cultural competence in evaluation is comprehensive, covering a multitude of issues involved in working together in a diverse world. What is presented here is a perspective to think about – how people might respond to thelanguage we choose to use– not that any languageis universally right or wrong.

Lesson Learned: Our event was called, “Cultural Competence in Evaluation.” Our panel of cross-cultural experts included persons of DegXit’an Athabascan, Gwich’in Athabascan, Navajo, and non-Native heritage. All had a lifetime of personal and professional experience with cultures indigenous to Alaska. They reminded usat the startthat the words we use are important and informed us they found the term “cultural competence” to be distasteful. Theyhighly encouraged us to use the term “cultural humility” and noted it is not a new idea.They also suggested“cultural relevance” as an acceptable alternative that makes more sense in some contexts.

Our panelists explained the problem with“competence”is that it implies we will reach a point where we can say,“We areculturally competent.”That is what is inferredwhen people go to a workshop for a certain number of hoursand earn a certificate in cultural competence.Our panelists pointed out that these trainings oftendo more harm than good. For example, focusing on characteristics of specific cultures inadvertently encourages stereotyping.The panel’s audience was intrigued, and discussions among colleagues continued long after the event.

Hot Tip: In many places or contexts, a term like “cultural humility” is a respectful choice. Without a lot of explanation it conveys a humble posture of learning about self and others. It implies openness, equity, and flexibility in working with anyone.

Rad Resource: With a little looking around, I found Cultural Humility: People, Principles, & Practices. This is a 30-minute, 4-part documentary by Vivian Chávez (2012). It is focused on relationships between physicians and patients, but the principles can beappliedin other applications.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org .aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

I’m Corrie Whitmore, one of the new At Large Board Members for AEA. I live in Anchorage, Alaska where I am president of the Alaska Evaluation Network and an internal evaluator for Southcentral Foundation, an Alaska Native owned and operated health care organization serving approximately 60,000 Alaska Native and American Indian people each year.

In my current role, I evaluate everything from space utilization to nurse home visiting programs and provide results to both internal operations staff and external funders. I enjoy the diverse work and opportunity to teach evaluation principles as part of our organization’s focus on capacity building. My experience in indigenous organizations and rural environments has deeply enriched my practice and I look forward to sharing my understanding of these important contexts during my service on the AEA Board.

Lesson Learned: discussing the aim and audience of evaluation work is a great way to help people understand what evaluation is and why it is important. As an internal evaluator, the audience for my work is usually program funders, operations staff, and decision makers. Working with the intended audience (aka “stakeholders”) to agree on the aim of our work together early in the project gets us all on the same page, saving time and building understanding.

Rad Resource: The CDC Framework for Program Evaluation is a simple, appealing framework that can anchor conversations about the evaluation process with an audience. I use the circle graphic showing the steps of program evaluation with operations folks to outline our project and help explain the process we will work through together.

2015 is the International Year of Evaluation and an exciting time to join the board. I look forward to learning about the infrastructure that keeps our complex organization and conference functioning and helping AEA build relationships with policymakers and organizations. I’m proud to be part of our socially responsible organization dedicated to supporting “effective and humane organizations and ultimately to the enhancement of the public good!”

See you in Denver!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Greetings my name is Maurice Samuels and I’m a Lead Evaluation and Research Associate at Outlier Research and Evaluation, CEMSE|University of Chicago. Our group recently hosted an American Evaluation Association Graduate Education Diversity Intern (GEDI). This was a wonderful opportunity for me and my colleagues to influence the development of a new member to the field. She had the experience of conducting an evaluation, more importantly we supported her thinking about and practice of cultural competence in evaluation. Below are several helpful tips to introduce evaluators to cultural competence in evaluation:

Hot Tips:

  1. Immerse yourself in the literature – It is important to have an understanding of evaluation frameworks and approaches (e.g., culturally responsive evaluation, contextually responsive evaluation, cross- cultural evaluation) that are sensitized to culture and context in order to stimulate thinking about the role of culture in evaluation. Equally important is to have a comprehensive understanding of how culture has been characterized in other fields such as anthropology, health, and social work. This is particularly helpful due to the various ways in which culture can be understood. For articles on the role of culture in evaluation check out http://education.illinois.edu/crea/publications.
  2. Use the resources available through the American Evaluation Association (AEA) – The AEA has several Topical Interest Groups (TIGs) that have an explicit commitment to culture and diversity (e.g., Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation (MIE) TIG; Disabilities and Other Vulnerable Populations (DOVP) TIG; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues (LGBT) TIG; Indigenous Peoples in Evaluation TIG; Feminist Issues in Evaluation TIG; International and Cross Cultural Evaluation (ICCE) TIG). In addition, commit yourself to AEA’s Cultural Competence in Evaluation and review their Introduction to the Cultural Readings of The Program Evaluation Standards and the Guiding Principles for Evaluators.
  3. Create opportunities to engage in dialogue about cultural competence – Introduce or network with people in the field with similar interest and those that are enacting cultural competence is important to making the practice concrete. Further, this encourages open conversations about culture, which helps to refine ones notions of cultural competence and provides multiple perspectives to draw upon.
  4. Encourage strong field work practices and self-reflection – When in the field it is important that the evaluator builds relationships with clients and stakeholders, understand the context of the program and the surrounding community, and gives back to the community in tangible ways such as volunteering at the program or attending program sponsored events that are not related to the evaluation.   As for self-reflection, it is important to document and share decisions made and assumptions when in the field through journaling and debriefing with a colleague.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation (MIE) Week with our colleagues in the MIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from MIE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Greetings AEA and evaluation family, we’re Stafford Hood, professor, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and Director, Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) and Rodney Hopson, professor, George Mason University and Senior Research Fellow, Center for Education Policy and Evaluation.

We are members of the AEA Multi-Ethnic Issue TIG, having been long time members and having seen the TIG grow over twenty (20) years.  Additionally, we promote the historical and contemporary development of Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE).  Grounded in traditions of Robert Stake’s Responsive Evaluation in the 1970s and influenced by the work of Gloria Ladson-Billings, Jackie Jordan Irvine, and Carol Lee who coined Culturally Responsive Pedagogy twenty years later. CRE marries these perspectives into a holistic evaluation framework that centers culture throughout evaluation.  Of particular attention to groups historically marginalized, CRE seeks to balance their interests and matters of equity into the evaluation process.

Hot Tip:  Refer to CRE framework in the 2010 NSF User-Friendly Guide (especially the chapter by Henry Frierson, Stafford Hood, Gerunda Hughes and Veronica Thomas) and the previous Hot Tip to illustrate how CRE can be applied to evaluation practices. 

Lesson Learned: There is a recognizable growth in what some may now call our culturally responsive evaluation community, particularly in the presence of a younger and more diverse cadre of evaluators. A recent search of scholar.google.com of the terms culturally responsive evaluation (CRE) and culturally competent evaluation (CCE) anywhere in an article or chapter or title between 1990 and 2013 indicates the major increase in this discourse over a little more than a decade is illustrated in the table below:

Hopson

Rad Resources:

  • CREA is an international and interdisciplinary evaluation center that is grounded in the need for designing and conducting evaluations and assessments that embody cognitive, cultural, and interdisciplinary diversity that are actively responsive to culturally diverse communities and their academic performance goals;
  • CREA’s second conference is upcoming!: “Forging Alliances For Action:  Culturally Responsive Evaluation Across Fields of Practice” will be held September 18-20, 2014 at the Oak Brook Hills Resort, Chicago – Oak Brook, IL and feature seasoned and emerging scholars and practitioners in the field;
  • AEA Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation is the (2011) membership-approved document as the result of the Building Diversity Initiative (co-sponsored by AEA and W.K.Kellogg Foundation in 1999);
  • Indigenous Framework for Evaluation, which synthesizes Indigenous ways of knowing and Western evaluation practice, is summarized in a Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation 2010 paper by Joan LaFrance and Richard Nichols.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation (MIE) Week with our colleagues in the MIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from MIE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Hello! I’m Nicole Clark, a licensed social worker and independent evaluator for Nicole Clark Consulting. I specialize in working with organizations and agencies to design, implement, and evaluate programs and services specifically for women and young women of color.

Young women of color (YWOC) face many issues, including racism, sexism, ageism, immigrant status, socioeconomic status, and sexuality. How can evaluators make sure the programs we design and evaluate are affirming, inclusive, and raise the voices of YWOC?

To help you be more effective at engaging young Black, Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native/Indigenous women in your evaluation work, here are my lessons learned and a rad resource on engaging YWOC:

Lessons Learned: Not all YWOC are the same- YWOC are not a monolithic group. Within communities of color, there are a variety of cultures, customs, and regional differences to consider.

Meet YWOC where they are- What are the priorities of the YWOC involved in the program or service? When an organization is developing a program on HIV prevention while the YWOC they’re targeting are more concerned with the violence happening in their community, there’s a disconnect. What the organization (and even you as the evaluator) considers a high priority may not be to the YWOC involved.

Be mindful of slang and unnecessary jargon- Make your evaluation questions easy to understand and free from jargon. Be mindful of using slang words with YWOC. Given cultural and regional considerations (along with the stark difference in age between you as the evaluator and of the YWOC), slang words may not go over well.

Start broad, then get specific- Let’s use an example of creating a evaluation questions on reproductive rights and YWOC. Creating evaluation questions around “reproductive rights” may not be as effective to YWOC as creating evaluation questions on “taking care of yourself.” While both can mean the same thing, “taking care of yourself’ evokes an overall feeling of wellness and can get YWOC thinking of specific ways in which they want to take care of themselves. This can be narrowed down to aspects of their health they want to be more empowered on, and you can help organizations hone in on these needs to develop a program or service that YWOC would be interested in.

Rad Resource: A great example of a YWOC-led program is the Young Women of Color Leadership Council (YWOCLC), a youth initiative through Advocates For Youth. Through thoughtful engagement of young people in their work, the YWOCLC cultivates a message of empowerment for young women of color, and it serves as a great example of a true youth-organization partnership framework. Pass this resource along to the youth-focused organizations you work with!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation (MIE) Week with our colleagues in the MIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from MIE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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