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

Jan/13

10

Bloggers Series: Eric Sarriot on the Sustainable Human and Social Development Blog

Hello! I’m Eric Sarriot and I am the Director of the Center for Design and Research in Sustainability (CEDARS) at ICF International. I would like to introduce you to the CEDARS blog, on Sustainable Human and Social Development, its planning and evaluation (definitely within a Global/International Development perspective).

Rad Resource – Sustainable Human and Social Development (http://cedarscenter.blogspot.com/): It’s an ongoing discussion about anything and everything related to taking sustainable health development seriously, and what this changes in the way we ‘do business’ or try to learn. After decades of talking, some say to myself, but mostly to friends and colleagues in the health development community, I’d like to expand the conversation to include anyone interested in complex systems’ evaluations, or simply way to learn to do things differently and better in global development. New content is posted about once or twice a month. More info about CEDARS is here.

Hot Tips – favorite posts: The blog has been operating for over a year now, and has attracted commentary on topics like climate change and adaptation, food security, transition to country ownership and others. A couple of my favorites are:

  • Projects Don’t “Do” Sustainability, Do They? – Trying to advance sustainability, we run into a common criticism: “I like these ideas; it makes sense, and it does or would make sense to our local partners. But really, that’s not how we work. We have 30 to 60 days to write a proposal, then staff up and kickoff a project and get deliverables. When exactly would you introduce those ideas?” This post addresses this question….
  • Emergence of Sustainability in a Complex System – Not just because you can see me on a Youtube video! This post and video link is about a conversation between health and food security evaluation professionals. Panelists discuss how sustainability can be defined and addressed practically in complex adaptive systems.

Lessons Learned – why I blog: I blog because evaluation of sustainability takes the conversation further than single programmatic sectoral and blogging invites more people in. The purpose of the blog is to inform and provoke discussion. It is an outlet for people concerned about the big social development issues of our time and who want to help all of us challenge our practice, whether working in the ‘North’ or the ‘South’.

Lessons Learned – what I’ve learned: You really have to reach beyond your tried and trusted professional network and community in order to learn new things (remember the ‘strength of weak ties?’). That’s also why I’d like to get involved in the AEA Systems in Evaluation TIG. Come and visit CEDARS!

This winter, we’re continuing our series highlighting evaluators who blog. 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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